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Committee to look at parking lot solution for Placid

LAKE PLACID — The village is looking at ways to add more parking spaces to a municipal lot on Main Street across from NBT Bank.

During a meeting of the Main Street task force at the Beach House Wednesday, Mayor Craig Randall said the village has formed a small “working group,” including representatives of The Design Group, a Vermont-based architectural design firm, to explore ways that parking spaces could be added to that upper municipal lot. Randall said he’d like to see 50 to 60 spaces added there, which he believes would go a long way to alleviate some of the parking issues on Main Street. At a meeting last month, Randall said there may be a way to expand parking there with the installation of some sort of parking deck.

In an interview Wednesday, Randall said the village hopes to complete work on that upper lot before the Main Street project enters the construction phase.

“We’d like to have that work finished to have those spots available while the project goes on,” he said.

The formation of this committee, which is expected to have its first meeting this month, comes amid a revived discussion about parking on Main Street as the village moves forward with a more than $8 million overhaul of the busy business district’s streetscape and underlying water infrastructure. Multiple downtown business owners have voiced concerns in the last few weeks about plans to remove fewer than a dozen on-street parking spaces, which they contend may exacerbate an already cumbersome parking crunch. At a meeting of the Main Street task force Wednesday, task force members questioned if previously available data on the number of parking spaces that would be added and removed as a result of the project were accurate and asked for an updated version of the estimates.

The need for more downtown parking has been a point of discussion for more than 25 years. The idea of building a parking garage on Main Street, in particular, has been talked about since at least the 1993 mayoral race. In 2001, then-Mayor Roby Politi said the state Olympic Regional Development Authority should partner with the village and the town of North Elba on a parking garage.

The idea of building a parking garage on the upper municipal lot across from NBT Bank has also been discussed off and on for years. After a failed attempt to use eminent domain to acquire the land from the Adirondack Historical Association in 2018, the village ultimately paid $937,500 that year to buy the property, which includes two parcels that are less than half an acre, combined, according to Essex County property tax records.

The NBT lot isn’t the only site that’s been eyed for a possible parking garage over the years. In 2003, the Lussi family, who owns Crowne Plaza, proposed building a multi-use retail and housing complex with a parking garage in the large municipal lot across from the post office.