Tenants Leery Of W-B Council, WestGUARD Parking Plan
WILKES-BARRE — As city council considers approving discounted parking for a major downtown employer, council members and at least one other potential parking garage tenant expressed concerns.
The proposed agreement would allow WestGUARD Insurance Co., a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway GUARD, to rent up to all of the 752 parking spaces in the city’s Intermodal Transportation Facility parkade at a discounted rate of $45 per space — minus an additional 10 percent discount — for two years.
However, some other entities already rent monthly spaces at the garage, including tenants of Washington Street Renewal such as the state Department of Labor and Industry, as well as residential and commercial tenants of the Citizens Bank building.
Movies 14 is also guaranteed spaces for patrons.
Council Chairman Tony Brooks asked city Administrator Rick Gazenski how all existing tenants would be accommodated, and Gazenski said the adjacent Park and Lock East garage could handle them, offering about 400 spaces.
But Don Sanderson, who lives in one of the 17 luxury apartments in the bank building and co-owns the building along with other partners in 65 Public Square Associates, indicated he had doubts.
Council rules don’t permit members of the public to speak at work sessions, but Sanderson said after the session that he and likely others would be speaking on the matter at council’s voting meeting on Thursday.
Sanderson said he’s happy that WestGUARD decided to keep its world headquarters in the city and consolidate five downtown offices into the Wilkes-Barre Center building on Public Square, but he has concerns about keeping guaranteed parking spaces for himself and other tenants.
In other business, council will consider authorizing:
• The appointments of Thomas Collis to the Parking Ticket Appeals Board; Anthony Glazenski to the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Board; Theodore Wampole to the General Municipal Authority; and Barry Payne to the Planning Commission.
• The reappointment of Tom O’Hara to the General Municipal Authority.
• A switch from Frontier Communications to PenTeleData for Internet service to better accommodate the city’s bandwidth needs.
• A new fee schedule at Hollenback Golf Course on second reading.
• A $3 million Tax and Revenue Anticipation Note from PNC Bank at 2.489 percent interest.
• The sale of 2018 through 2020 delinquent real estate tax claims to the city finance authority, with Municipal Revenue Services Inc. structuring the sale.
• Renewal of the Downtown Business Improvement District. Council also will consider authorizing the administration to submit Local Share Account grant applications to the Commonwealth Financing Authority for the following projects:
• $732,799 for Wilkes-Barre City Hall renovations.
• $771,650 to add a driving range and an 18-hole miniature golf course to the city-owned Hollenback Golf Course.
• $167,805 for new heating/ventilation/air conditioning rooftop units at the F.M. Kirby Center.
• $250,000 to expand behavioral health, wellness and vision services of Volunteers in Medicine.
• $650,000 toward a proposed $1.85 million data center project to be based at 105 N. Main St.
• $300,000 toward major repairs as part of the Irem Temple Restoration Project.
• $500,000 toward a $1 million restoration of the Central Railroad of New Jersey Train Station at Market Street Square.
• $250,000 for the restoration of the historic “Rainbow Room” on the 14th floor of the Citizens Bank building to serve as a banquet and conference space.
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