Time is short for garage fix

Laconia City Parking Garage

LACONIA — With costs running high and time running short, the future of the downtown parking garage is hamstrung by the complex ownership and prospective sale of a portion of the facility.

The ramps and north end of the second and third levels, including the northernmost stairwell, are owned by the city. The ground floor of the garage, except for the ramps, and the south end of the second and third levels, including the southernmost stairwell, along with seven commercial units on the ground level, are privately owned. The city is responsible for maintaining and repairing the ramps to ensure access to the privately owned parking space. But,, there is no provision in the agreement between the owners that authorizes either one to compel the other to undertake repairs to its portion of the garage.

Downtown Crossing LLC, which owns the private portion of the facility, has entered a purchase and sales agreement to sell its interest, consisting of 36 spaces in the garage and seven commercial spaces beneath it, to Genesis Behavioral Health. The agency would house its administrative and clinical services in the space currently occupied by the Grace Capital Church and lease the remaining commercial spaces.

Dubois & King, Inc. has estimated the cost of structural repairs to the section of the garage owned by the city at $1.8 million, which includes a contingency at 10 percent but not design and engineering costs at 5 percent. The estimated cost of repairing the privately owned portion of the facility is $290,000, which also includes a contingency at 10 percent while excluding 5 percent for design and engineering.

Maggie Pritchard, executive director of Genesis, has advised city officials that her agency would not acquire the property if the city failed to repair the garage and ensure its long-term use.Likewise, city officials have indicated an unwillingness to undertake the repairs without the cooperation of the private owner.

So far, Daniel Disangro of Rosindale, Massachusetts, the principal of Downtown Crossing , LLC has been unwilling either to bear the cost of repairing its portion of the garage or discount the selling price to offset the cost of repairs to Genesis. He has agreed to extend the purchase and sales agreement until Feb. 29.

When the Land and Buildings Committee of the City Council met earlier this week, City Manager Scott Myers explained that the funding for a sale to Genesis is "time sensitive."

Genesis intends to finance its acquisition and conversion with a bond $5.5 million bond issued by the New Hampshire Health and Educational Facilities Authority. Pritchard said the agency will also seek to raise $1.5 million through a capital campaign. The funds must be expended by May 2017. Consequently, for Genesis to complete the renovation and conversion on time, work would have to begin by October.

To add to the urgency, work cannot begin on the privately owned section of the garage before some of the necessary structural repairs on the city-owned portion are complete. Myers said that this would require the city to begin the process of designing the project, preparing the bids and awarding the contract in March with an eye to starting work in July.

Myers suggested convening a meeting of "stakeholders in short order." At the same time, the Land and Buildings Committee, which is chaired by Councilor Bob Hamel (Ward 5) and includes councilors Henry Lipman (Ward 3) and Armand Bolduc (Ward 6), scheduled one meeting on Thursday, Feb. 18, at 4 p.m., and another at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 22, before the next regularly scheduled meeting of the City Council.

  • Category: Local News
  • Hits: 193

Meet candidates for Inter-Lakes superintendent Monday, Feb. 15

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

MEREDITH — The Inter-Lakes School Board has chosen two finalists to succeed Superintendent Mary Ellen Ormond, who will retire at the end of the current school year — David Ryan, assistant superintendent of the Manchester School District and Mary Moriarty, assistant superintendent of the Rochester School District.

Both candidates will be introduced to the public at a meet-and-greet session hosted by the School Board on Monday, Feb. 15, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., at Inter-Lakes High School.

Moriarty, who earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in education at Plymouth State University, is no stranger to the Lakes Region. She taught mathematics in the Winnisquam Regional School District and chaired the mathematics department at Gilford High School, where she also served as assistant principal. She was principal of Bridgewater-Hebron Village School in the Newfound School District and before assuming her present position was curriculum coordinator for the Rochester School District.

With a bachelor's degree from Plymouth State University and master's and doctoral degrees from Boston College, Ryan pursued a teaching career before become assistant principal at Manchester Central High School, where he served for six years. In 2006, he was appointed principal of Nashua North High School, serving for seven years before returning to the Manchester School District as assistant superintendent, a post he has held since 2013.

  • Category: Local News
  • Hits: 120

Warmer, drier winter leaves city’s winter maintenance budget strong

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Warm temperatures and scant snowfall has spared the city's winter maintenance budget, which last year closed in the red.
By the end of January a year ago, the city had exhausted $343,930, or 85 percent, of its winter maintenance budget of $406,000. Expenditures were $43,440 in November, $170,066 in December and $130,424 in January. When the season ended, the budget was overspent by $75,000 and the deficit offset by transferring unexpended funds from other departments without drawing on the winter maintenance reserve account.
So far this winter, expenses are less than half those of last year. By the end of January, the city had spent $170,447, or only 38 percent of the $445,500 that was budgeted. Almost half the expenditures this year were incurred in January when $58,322 was spent dealing with two icing events and seven snow storms, and another $26,637 replenishing stocks of salt and sand. Through January, there is a remaining balance of $275,052.
City Manager Scott Myers said that any funds remaining when winter ends could be transferred to the undesignated fund balance or applied to the winter maintenance reserve account, which has a current balance of $95,397.