Discuss Details On New Garage Plan

Another major proposal by Wheeling officials, construction of a new parking garage, also needs to be discussed with the public.

For at least a year and a half, city officials have proposed construction of a new parking garage near the old Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel building on Market Street. An Ohio company has proposed remodeling the building for residential apartment use. Mayor Glenn Elliott has said the garage is necessary for that project to become a reality.

There was controversy over the idea last year when it was disclosed the garage was to be constructed on lots extending between Main and Market streets and owned by two attorneys.

A draft memorandum of understanding concerning the lots specified the land’s owners would be paid $15,000 a month to lease the property. The garage itself was to include 4,500 square feet of retail space from which the attorneys would receive any profits.

The idea of the city paying to construct, maintain and operate a parking garage on land it would never own was criticized by some.

In addition, there were questions about paying for the estimated $11 million cost of the garage.

City officials now are considering purchase of land to the north of the Wheeling-Pitt building for the parking garage. Details of financing apparently have yet to be arranged.

All this, too, needs to be the subject of public discussion — if for no other reason than to ensure nothing remains of the totally inappropriate philosophy that was in play last year.

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