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AGENCY LOSES BID TO OPERATE PARKING RAMPS

The Downtown Jamestown Development Corp. will no longer be operating the city's parking ramps and lease lots.

The City Council Monday night accepted a lower bid from Allright Parking of Buffalo to run the facilities, putting the local organization out of the picture.

James Nelson, executive director of the development agency, said the ramps have been a key part of the agency's business since 1990.

"We are disappointed, of course. But we realize the city has to take the taxpayers into account, and money has been tight," Nelson said.

He added that the agency will remain active in downtown real estate development, including efforts to rehabilitate the Samuels Building on West Third Street.

"We will be making an announcement in another week or two on another business moving into that building," he added. "We have also been working with another large company that could potentially bring close to 200 jobs into the downtown."

Mayor Richard Kimball said some Council concerns about the costs of bookkeeping and snow removal, which were not included in Allright's proposal, have now been addressed.

"We will handle snow removal in-house," he said. "But there was a difference of between $4,000 and $6,000 in accounting, and Allright said they would do that as part of their management contract and that is really what made their bid lower than the (development agency's)," Kimball said.

The development agency's old contract expired at the end of 1996. The organization has seven employees working in parking ramps, and agency officials expect Allright to retain most or all of them.

Allright will take over operations of the ramps at the end of August.

The Council also approved an early-retirement incentive package to six employees of the city and the Board of Public Utilities. Under the program, these jobs either will be cut to part-time or eliminated through attrition.

In addition, the Council accepted the donation of new playground equipment for the Lillian Dickson Playground at Falconer and Sturges streets. Public Safety Committee Chairman Philip Morris said it is part of a community-service project by Cummins Engine Co., which will install the equipment Sept. 22.

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