Who pays the balance for parking garage?

September 24, 2003

Dear Editor:

Nearly a million dollars in state funds has been spent to purchase the Hub-Gilcher properties in downtown Danville. Now we must build a parking garage on that site to cost a few million (now $5 or $6 million) to attract tenants to the properties. But we are happy because our congressman has been able to secure $1.75 million in the form of a federal grant to help pay for the project. But who pays the balance?

Now, according to the editorial in Sunday's Advocate, this plan must be supported because the "parking garage is an economic development project ... intended to bring new jobs to the community."

The editorial continues: ... "that (it) would create 100 new jobs for the community" ... "a hundred people ... could expect to receive permanent employment as a result of a parking garage."


I have a few questions. Who will provide those jobs? What kind of skills will be required to perform the work? Will this be work required to maintain the facility, to operate it, or what?

And where is the payback? What assurance is there the empty buildings will suddenly have tenants whose rent payments will justify this expenditure? Indeed, are there any tenants waiting in the wings for this project to be built?

In the private enterprise sector, a builder of commercial properties usually has at least some tenants signed on the dotted line before construction begins.

Is this a case of having the cart before the horse? If there are good prospects waiting, why are we not told about them? At the very least, we should see a proposed financial analysis regarding the projects economic viability. The citizens of the community deserve more explanation than they have received, especially if they will end up paying off the debt remaining after the governement grant funds run out.

A. R. Gross


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