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Lockport has multiple choice over borrowing <br> Parking ramp, City Hall included in project mix

The Common Council will have to decide soon whether to borrow money to demolish and replace the city parking ramp; replace roofs on City Hall and two other buildings; both; or neither.

"It's possible we don't do any of them," Mayor Michael W. Tucker said last week.

City Engineer Norman D. Allen said Foit-Albert & Associates, the design firm for the removal and replacement of the downtown parking ramp, has presented the city with cost estimates for two optional versions of that project.

Both scenarios would demolish the 260-space, five-level ramp at Main and Pine streets, which has been closed since August 2006 because of crumbling concrete.

After the city turned down a $10 million plan for a 200-space underground parking garage, Foit-Albert presented three other options for replacing the ramp. The Council rejected one, with a smaller underground garage, and asked for prices on the other two.

Allen said the price tag is $2,648,000 for demolishing the ramp and filling in the hole with a surface lot to be accessed from Pine Street.

A version that would place the surface lot at a lower level by not filling in the hole was estimated at $2,356,000.

But Allen and Tucker said City Hall, the water-filtration plant and the wastewater-treatment plant all need new roofs.

The collective cost for that is about $3 million, Allen said.

"It's just going to come down to the Council's decision on how much they want to borrow and where they want to put it," City Treasurer Michael E. White said.

Council President Richelle J. Pasceri, R-1st Ward, said no decisions have been made. "I think a lot of it has to do with those budgetary figures they're going to throw at us," she said.

White said the Council will not be asked to make any decisions on a bond is sue until the 2009 year-end numbers are in, and until there's a clearer view on how the larger economy might look in the coming months.

"A lot of these projects, we were trying to get grant money all along," White said. "It doesn't really look good for us so far as hearing about some of the things in there."

Tucker said that the roof over the part of City Hall where his office is located has been replaced after repeated floods during heavy rainstorms, but that the largest part of the building's flat roof needs to go.

"If you walk on the roof, it's spongy. The water's gotten under the first layer," Tucker said, noting discolored ceiling tiles in the lobby.

At the wastewater plant, the roof issues are joined by decaying masonry. "We're losing bricks off that building," the mayor said. And the Summit Street filtration plant's roof leaks, too.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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