Middletown business owners say a parking predicament could cost them customers if the problem isn’t fixed soon.
A parking garage that is now closed used to be a real asset to Middletown companies.
Nearly 300 hundred cars fit inside and on the level above, but right now no customers can park there.
Businesses said it’s hurting them and now the city is scrambling to fix the problem.
A plan to build a new surface lot was approved by Middletown City Council on Thursday night.
A sign outside a downtown Middletown parking garage doesn’t tell a lie, but it’s probably overly optimistic.
It is closed, but further notice likely means forever because the garage has been condemned.
Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce President Larry McHugh said local companies knew the garage was falling apart and would need to be replaced eventually, but the city only gave business owners a week’s notice.
“It would have been more helpful to give more notice cause we could have at least advertised it more let our customers know and give our customers a little bit more of a heads up,” said Pamela Steele, a local business owner.
Steele owns a knitting supply business across the street from the garage.
Losing the arcade and surface parking above costs local businesses about 350 spots and the closure has cost her cash.
“I do have a lot of customers from out of town which has caused a problem because they come they can’t they don’t know how to navigate Middletown so it has caused some issues and a loss in business,” Steele said.
While Steele and McHugh are frustrated by the problem, they are pleased the city is moving quickly to find a solution.
On Thursday evening, the council approved more than $1.5 million in bonds to tear down the arcade and replace it with a large surface lot with nearly 200 spaces.
“We need the emergency funding because we can’t wait months for this to happen every one of our businesses are impacted by it right now,” McHugh said.
The arcade will now be demolished and people will be able to park in the new lot within two or three months.
So, the parking nightmare may be over soon.
“It does make me very happy they really have been good especially with those of us who have businesses on Court Street they’ve been keeping us informed and working with us,” Steele said.
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