Editorial: City has no excuse now for not building parking facility

April 14, 2004

The Danville City Commission now should have everything it needs to issue about $2 million in bonds for the construction of a downtown parking facility.

The announcement Monday by a group of local physicians that they intend to purchase the Gilcher Hotel building on Main Street and turn it into an outpatient surgery center would appear to remove what little risk remained for the city in building and operating a parking garage.

That risk already was limited by the fact that most of the cost of the parking garage would be paid for with state and federal grant funds, meaning the city would be getting a $4-5 million structure for about $2 million.

Still, questions remained about whether - in its initial stages at least - a parking garage would provide sufficient revenue to pay off the local bonds, and the commissioners balked at taking that risk.


An agreement by the doctors' group to lease 250 spaces in the garage, to be constructed behind the Hub and Gilcher buildings, would appear to put those questions about the project's financial soundness to rest. In addition, Third Street Development Corp., which owns the buildings, has obtained letters of intent to lease spaces in the garage from seven businesses currently located downtown.

If you throw in the additional payroll taxes that would be generated by the Central Kentucky Surgery Center, the facility would be a winner for the taxpayers of the City of Danville.

Furthermore, development of the Gilcher building is bound to provide a big boost to efforts to fill up the Hub building. The surgery center would not only draw additional people - both employees and customers - it would provide a needed psychological boost to downtown.

In the nine years since the Hub Frankel department store closed, a pessimistic attitude that the two huge buildings the store occupied would never spring to life again has grown year by year.

A surgical center would cut a huge slice out of the pessimism, and justly reward the efforts of those groups, such as the Heart of Danville and Third Street Development, that have never given up on the dream of saving and restoring this important piece of Danville's history and architecture.

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