ALLENTOWN — A plan to develop a municipal parking lot in Allentown remains without funding.
During the April 10 meeting of the Borough Council, Wil Borkowski, a former member of the governing body, asked for an update on a plan officials have discussed during the past year. The project in question would be to construct a municipal parking lot behind businesses on South Main Street between Waker Avenue and Lakeview Drive.
The purpose of establishing a parking lot off South Main Street would be to provide convenient parking for visitors to Allentown and to attract additional visitors by making it known convenient parking is available in the downtown district, according to municipal officials.
In response to Borkowski’s question, Councilman John A. Elder III said, “At the present time, we are not moving forward. We have not been able to secure grants” for the parking lot project.
Elder said the estimate for a paved parking lot is about $400,000 and the estimate for a gravel parking lot is about $350,000.
The issue came up again during the council’s April 24 meeting and council President Thomas Fritts said, “We are looking for other parking options. At this time, the (South Main Street) parking lot is not affordable to taxpayers.”
Mayor Greg Westfall said, “We are still where we were in 2015. I think we need to get some bids on the project and see what happens. Some local contractors have told me it can be done for less” than the estimated $350,000 to $400,000.
In a related matter, a downtown building owner said he would seek a legal remedy because borough officials have never built the parking lot he maintains was promised. However, after filing a tort claim notice which indicates legal action will be forthcoming, no action has been taken.
In 2017, a tort claim notice was filed by attorney Adam Schneider of Long Branch on behalf of his client, Owen Seeland, LLC, in connection with property at 3, 5 and 7 S. Main St. and a parcel on Lakeview Drive. The managing partner of Owen Seeland is Nicholas DeMauro.
The tort claim notice asserts that “the incidents complained of and the tortious interference with contract obligations continue to occur. There has been a breach of contract, both express and implied, along with tortious interference.”
The tort claim notice asserted Allentown “has breached both expressed and implied obligations to build and maintain the parking lot as per (an) agreement dated Dec. 3, 2010. Furthermore, the existing parking lot and road sold by Owen Seeland, LLC, have not been maintained and are in a hazardous condition.”
When asked for an update on that matter, Borough Attorney Greg Cannon said, “To date, the borough has not been served with any lawsuit in follow-up to Mr. DeMauro’s tort claim notice from last year.
“The Borough Council continues to pursue its plans for a parking lot in that area, which may or may not include cooperation with Mr. DeMauro and his property.
“Mr. DeMauro (sent) his customary letters every time it (snowed), demanding that the borough plow his private parking lot and driveways pursuant to an alleged agreement that he still has not yet produced to date,” Cannon said.
Schneider did not return a telephone message left at his office.