Bonds Approved, Could Parking Garage Be Far Behind?
Funds earmarked for land acquisition for new parking spaces along Route 1, according to sources.
The Hyattsville City Council gave overwhelming preliminary approval to a $2.5 million bond issuance designed to fund a variety of parking-related projects and other infrastructure improvements.
The bonds have been most frequently described as a way to pay for a number of ongoing projects, like the renovation of multiple city parking lots in downtown Hyattsville or the acquisition and installation of more than 100 parking meters downtown.
But perhaps of interest to area motorists are a number of provisions in the bond measure which clear the way for the city council to use bond funds to pay for land acquisition to build new parking lots.
The city is already looking to acquire land downtown which could be used to construct a parking garage in conjunction with the county's Department of Public Works.
In fact, an item contained in the most recent Capital Improvement Plan calls for the city to set aside about $2 million from a fiscal year 2013 bond issue for land acquisition and clearing for parking facilities.
After the meeting, Mayor Tartaro acknowledged that the city is pushing ahead with a plan to build new parking facilities along the Route 1 corridor.
"We're just acquiring land for parking right now," said Tartaro. "Whether it turns into a garage is way down the road right now. The first step is to acquire the land, and then clear it and come up with a plan. The whole process, whatever it turns out to be, could take two or three years."
But an attempt by Councilor Tim Hunt (Ward 3) to eke that information out of City Treasurer and Acting City Administrator Elaine Stookey was met with a sharp rebuke by Mayor Marc Tartaro.
"Mr. Hunt knows exactly what is in the budget and why the information was provided in closed session," said Tartaro, cutting off Hunt's questioning during debate over the measure. "What Mr. Hunt is trying to do is to go around what was information that was highly confidential and provided in a closed session and to interrogate them on camera and try to get them to reveal that information."
"We're going to move on," concluded Tartaro.
With that, the measure passed by a vote of 10-1, with Hunt dissenting.
The bond issuance must be read and approved a second time, likely when the city council meets for its regular meeting on August 6. The bond must also be put before a public hearing before it is given final approval. That hearing has yet to be scheduled.