Vehicle weight restrictions will soon be in place for the upper deck.
By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU
SHARON, Pa. -- It could cost the city $750,000 to replace the deteriorating upper level of the two-story parking deck at the Shenango Valley Community Library, East State Street at Sharpsville Avenue.
The 31-year-old concrete structure has been deteriorating for years, and Mayor David O. Ryan had architect Greer Hayden of HHSDR of Sharon examine it last month.
The report wasn't good.
Hayden said the open upper level of the city-owned, two-story deck should be replaced and estimated the cost at close to $750,000.
It's money the city doesn't have, Ryan said, adding that he also had Joseph Kurtanich, an engineer, examine the deck. Kurtanich recommended some weight restrictions for the structure.
Winter maintenance: Years' worth of salt spread on the concrete during winters probably caused the bulk of the deterioration, Ryan said.
The city once applied a protective seal coat on the upper deck, but that has been worn off by traffic flow and snow-plowing.
Ryan said the city no longer uses its big trucks on the upper deck, relying instead on pickup trucks equipped with snow plows to clear the travel lanes.
He said Kurtanich has recommended a weight restriction of no more than 8,000 pounds per vehicle, which would ban most trucks bigger than pickups from the upper deck.
Taking action: The structure is not in danger of collapse, but weight will be restricted, Ryan said, noting that signs are being prepared now.
The deck has 41 designated parking spaces on its upper level and 61 on the lower level. But sometimes, when the lot is full, motorists park along the retaining wall on the upper level where there are no designated spaces. That practice will be banned, he said.
If the city can't replace the top floor, the parking deck might have to be closed in five to seven years, and that would greatly affect the public use of the library, Ryan said.
Revitalization: He said the deck inspections were part of the city's work to develop a revitalization plan for the downtown commercial district. An area bounded by Sharpsville Avenue on the east, Connelly Boulevard on the south, Silver Street on the north and Irvine Avenue on the west is targeted.
Sharon clearly has no money to tackle the parking-deck project right now, but it could be incorporated into a larger effort that would require borrowing money, perhaps through selling bonds, Ryan said.
The revitalization plan should be completed around August, according to the consultant putting it together, Joseph Mazzola of E.G. & amp;G. Inc. of Akron. He said the plan will suggest priorities and identify potential sources for funding.