Binder coat of asphalt for new lots could allow parking this winter

Monday, December 1, 2014

With the arrival of December has come city officials' realization that the downtown Greencastle parking lots project likely has fallen victim to fickle Hoosier weather.

"Obviously we're not going to get finished in this construction season," Mayor Sue Murray told the Greencastle Redevelopment Commission at its November meeting.

Now with asphalt plants about to close for the season across Indiana and even state highway projects now in limbo, about the best Greencastle can hope for at this point, she acknowledged, is to get the binder coat of asphalt put down and put the top layer on later.

If temperatures allow that to occur this week or next, then temporary striping could be added to the parking lots just south and west of the courthouse square and the new surface lots could be deemed usable for parking this winter.

Two new parking lots are currently under construction as part of the city's Stellar Communities grant. The two new free parking lots are along Market Street between Washington and Franklin streets (east side of the Moose Lodge) and South Court at the corner of Jackson, Walnut and Indiana streets area that includes the former First Christian Church parking area).

They are being developed in lieu of the parking garage that was originally proposed as the single most expensive item among the Stellar work. However, bids on the proposed 146-space $3.4 million parking garage came in $1 million overbudget on initial bidding and about $750,000 on rebidding before the garage idea was scrubbed.

If the weather does not allow for binder asphalt to be put down, Redevelopment Commission members worried what might happen to the exposed rock and gravel base of the new lots during the winter months. People trying to park vehicles on the soft base would likely break up the foundation and create an unnecessary mess, it was noted.

"We haven't given up hope," the mayor noted, adding that the city expects to hear something from the asphalt plants Monday or Tuesday since the Thanksgiving holiday has now passed.

"We want it done right," commission member Gary Lemon stressed. "I'd rather we wait until next year if we can't (do it right)."

Meanwhile, the commission approved a $42,512 changeorder on the old Moose lot that involved eight separate items, including milling six inches on the Market Street side of the new lot for proper support for vehicles turning in and out of the parking lot. That change is expected to give the lot "several more years" of life, the mayor said engineers have suggested.

Another aspect, additional grading work to the tune of $8,213 ,is designed to move runoff water away from the east side of the Moose building where torrential rains this summer contributed to flooding of the lodge.

The commission was told the changeorder was able to be absorbed in the contingency fund provided on the parking lot project.

Redevelopment Commission Chairman Erika Gilmore noted that such a contingency fund has been extremely important in projects that offer so many unseen elements like the parking lots and the downtown facades.

"We don't always know what we don't know," she said before asking the mayor if contractors were now done running into unforeseen obstacles.

"We uncovered something yesterday," Mayor Murray said, explaining a problem encountered with a clay drainage tile along the South Court parking lot. A slip-tile arrangement will make the drainage tile more structurally sound and provide better support for the pipe near the parking lot entrance, she said.

The Redevelopment Commission will next meet in regular session at City Hall at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 23, a day early because of the holiday.

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