Project creates parking problems
Business owners fear being hurt by the library parking deck replacement project.
By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU
SHARON, Pa. -- City officials said they will do what they can to provide additional public parking spaces while the parking deck at the Shenango Valley Community Library is being replaced.
Contractors closed off the two-story deck this week, temporarily eliminating 100 parking spaces that served not only the library but a number of businesses in the immediate area as well.
The city is spending $1.2 million to replace the deck and make repairs to the library building.
Some of the affected business owners showed up at a city council meeting Thursday asking for help in finding temporary parking for their customers.
The city has built a 20-space lot directly across East State Street from the library, but that isn't enough.
Robert Arena of The Wave restaurant, located across Dock Street from the library, suggested the city make some temporary improvements to a vacant, weed-covered lot behind his restaurant that is owned by Conrail.
Mayor David O. Ryan said the city would have to get the railroad's permission first but agreed to pursue that idea.
Council President Fred Hoffman suggested the city also contact WinTronics, located across Pitt Street from the library, to see whether that company's parking lot can be opened for public use after 5 p.m.
He also noted that the library deck contractors expect to reopen the lower deck level to parking after 5 p.m. once the upper deck is removed. That is supposed to be sometime in October, he said.
Larry Unangst of Budd Street Video, located on Sharpsville Avenue across from the library, asked whether temporary parking could be allowed on both sides of Sharpsville Avenue during the construction period.
Parking already is allowed on the east side of that street.
Councilman Darin Flower said allowing parking on the west side would interfere with work vehicles and equipment working on the library project.
Ryan said it also would require eliminating a travel lane on what is one of the city's busiest streets.
The mayor noted that the city owns a small plot of land on Sharpsville Avenue just a half block from the library and said he will have city street department workers clear and open it for parking.
The small lot could accommodate five or six cars, he said.
Hoffman said the city also could enact an ordinance temporarily limiting parking on the west side of Sharpsville to just 15 minutes to prevent people from parking in front of businesses there for hours at a time.