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Huntington downtown parking garage study gets green light

Another step in studying the feasibility of building a parking garage in downtown Huntington has been given a green light.

The town board voted to extend the contract with Level G Associates of Old Bethpage, which performed the first phase of a parking garage study.

The second phase will explore financial models, estimates and projections which were used to draw the first-phase conclusions that a 528-space parking structure was viable for part of the municipal parking lot between New and Green streets south of Main Street.

“The first phase concluded we needed a parking structure and it was economically feasible to do it,” Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said. “The second phase will do some models and do some estimates, revenue projections, functional things that will get translated to what we will put out to bid.”

The first phase of the report was completed in May. The Huntington Economic Development Corp. voted in February to retain Level G Associates to review and update previous town studies of parking congestion in the downtown area. The company also was charged with completing a conceptual design of a parking garage and to assess its potential, sizing and economics.

The town board voted 5-0 at the July 11 town meeting to approve the $12,700 second-phase contract cost. The money is to come from the Economic Development Corp. and municipal funds, town officials said.

Building a parking structure has been on the mind of town officials since at least 1956. An artist’s rendering of a parking structure from that era was recently found, showing a large, landscaped parking lot with a few cars in it and a two-floor structure with a 1950s space-age style.

Petrone said at the time that many municipalities considered building such amenities, but there was no need to spend money for such a facility.

“There are all sorts of proposals, some are backed with studies and facts, others are wish lists,” Petrone said. “The fact that we are moving into a detailed study of how to make it happen represents significant progress.”

Mark Zecher, co-owner of Honu restaurant on New York Avenue, said that a parking structure would be a welcome addition to the area.

“In the village, parking is a huge issue and I think the majority of merchants would say it would be a positive thing,” Zecher said. “The only negative that I’ve heard is about aesthetics and how it affects the village. But with good design and how well the town board manages things, a parking garage can be made to fit the look of the town.”

The second phase, which will be the final consultant’s report, is expected to be suitable for submission to financial institutions and others involved in financing the project, Petrone said.

“A completed study this year would allow us to go out and get the bids,” Petrone said. “By the end of the year, that’s my target.”

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