The future of the Main Street parking ramp could be decided by November, City Engineer Norman D. Allen told the Common Council on Wednesday.
The aldermen awarded two contracts to Greenman-Pedersen of Buffalo, one to report on the feasibility of three different scenarios for the ramp's repair, and the other to prepare the design for the chosen option.
Allen said all the scenarios will include a new masonry facade to try to make the gray concrete ramp look better, but that hasn't been designed yet.
The choices include repairing all five levels of the ramp; repairing the bottom three levels and closing off the other two; or repairing three levels and removing the top two.
Allen said the report is due by November on what to do with the 32-year-old ramp, which was closed last August because of heavy deterioration blamed on road salt and inadequate maintenance.
The study contract is worth $73,250 and the design and construction supervision contract is worth $110,390. The city will pay $45,000 in cash and seek financing for the rest.
Allen said, "We'll be ready to put a shovel in the ground, or a jackhammer to the ramp, by March 2008."
Greenman-Pedersen will meet next week with the owners of the adjoining businesses to hear their concerns, Allen said.
On another topic, the Council revoked the special-use permit for a barbershop at 102 Washington St. The permit, granted in 2005 to owner Frederick Williamson and tenant Hilton Maxwell, was pulled at the complaint of residents in the neighborhood who alleged that drugs were being sold from the shop.
Maxwell is no longer operating the business, aldermen said. The city code allows special permits to be revoked if the use is abandoned for more than a year. The permits are not transferable.
Also Wednesday, the Council approved an amendment to the grass-cutting ordinance, allowing city crews to tack a notice of high grass to the front door of a house in addition to mailing a letter calling for the grass to be cut.
Mayor Michael W. Tucker said the ordinance will allow for the city to cut the grass, or hire someone to do it, 48 hours after the notice is posted. He said a contractor, Dick Russell, was given a list of six homes Wednesday.
Other contractors will be given a chance to do the work, which will be billed to the homeowner on their taxes if it is not paid at once. The city has charged $75 in the past.
Alderman Joseph C. Kibler, R-at Large, said elderly or infirm residents may call him at 434-8673 and he will arrange to have their grass cut by petty criminals sentenced to service in the Saturday morning Community Pride program.
Also, the Council authorized tours of the Flight of Five original Erie Canal locks to be covered under the city's liability insurance. The tours are to be organized by the Erie Canal Discovery Center, and the city's Optimist Clubs will pay $500 each toward printing of a promotional brochure.