Bunning presents $1.7 million for Danville parking garage

August 13, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning said he had only been in downtown Danville for a short time Thursday, and he saw that the city needs parking.

He was in town to present $1.7 million in federal transportation money for a parking garage behind the Hub-Gilcher building.

"This is the fun part of being a senator," he said.

The total cost of the project is $5 million, and the city hopes to break ground this winter.

In his speech, Bunning plugged a $290 billion transportation act that will be hashed out in Washington when Congress goes back into session this September.

As it is written now, Bunning said the act would bring $4.3 billion to Kentucky over six years. He said part of the money would help bring public transportation to smaller communities.


Danville received the $1.7 million because the garage will house a bus station and office area for the Bluegrass Community Action Agency's transportation program.

"Transportation and access to transportation are the two things that are essential to job growth," Bunning said.

Waiting for revisions to the garage's design

The city is waiting for revisions to the garage's design from the group of local doctors who have bought the old Gilcher Hotel for an outpatient surgery center.

The Central Kentucky Surgery Center will lease 250 spaces in the proposed parking garage on Third and Walnut streets.

Mayor John W.D. Bowling told a crowd of politicians and politicos Thursday that the city had been looking for funding since 1992.

"I hope this makes your lives a little easier," Bunning said. "A lot of people here know that the private sector needs parking."

There are not enough parking spaces downtown to support another large business, like the surgery center. Heart of Danville has worked to write grants and lobby for federal and state funds to build the garage, visiting Washington D.C. on several occasions to talk about the parking garage project.

Bunning said that he believes the economy is in good shape, and ready for an upswing.

"We think the economy is ready to boom, and I hope Danville and Boyle County are ready to go with it," he said.

After the presentation in the park, Bunning toured the Community Arts Center in the old Federal Building on Main Street. Evidence of construction was strewn about, but CAC Executive Director Wilma Brown stuck close to Bunning and his wife, Mary, to explain her group's vision of the finished product.

Paper signs next to the doors indicated what each room would be: art gallery, studio, library, Brown's office.

Brown hopes that Bunning will be able to help the CAC receive federal money.

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