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Three-year repair project begins at E. John Gare Parking Garage in Northampton

  • CAROL LOLLIS<br/>Nick Chaplin and Alex Lozada, employees of Armini Restoration out of Hartford Ct., work on the Northampton garage Wednesday morning.<br/><br/><br/>

    CAROL LOLLIS
    Nick Chaplin and Alex Lozada, employees of Armini Restoration out of Hartford Ct., work on the Northampton garage Wednesday morning.


    Purchase photo reprints »

  • CAROL LOLLIS<br/> Alex Lozada, an employee of Armini Restoration out of Hartford Ct., work on the Northampton garage Wednesday morning.<br/><br/><br/>

    CAROL LOLLIS
    Alex Lozada, an employee of Armini Restoration out of Hartford Ct., work on the Northampton garage Wednesday morning.


    Purchase photo reprints »

  • CAROL LOLLIS<br/> Alex Lozada, an employee of Armini Restoration out of Hartford Ct., work on the Northampton garage Wednesday morning.<br/><br/>

    CAROL LOLLIS
    Alex Lozada, an employee of Armini Restoration out of Hartford Ct., work on the Northampton garage Wednesday morning.

    Purchase photo reprints »

  • CAROL LOLLIS<br/>Newly applied concrete on one of the Northampton Garage stairways. <br/><br/>

    CAROL LOLLIS
    Newly applied concrete on one of the Northampton Garage stairways.

    Purchase photo reprints »

  • CAROL LOLLIS<br/>Nick Chaplin and Alex Lozada, employees of Armini Restoration out of Hartford Ct., work on the Northampton garage Wednesday morning.<br/><br/><br/>
  • CAROL LOLLIS<br/> Alex Lozada, an employee of Armini Restoration out of Hartford Ct., work on the Northampton garage Wednesday morning.<br/><br/><br/>
  • CAROL LOLLIS<br/> Alex Lozada, an employee of Armini Restoration out of Hartford Ct., work on the Northampton garage Wednesday morning.<br/><br/>
  • CAROL LOLLIS<br/>Newly applied concrete on one of the Northampton Garage stairways. <br/><br/>

NORTHAMPTON — Like an old home in need of tender loving care, the E. John Gare Parking Garage downtown is undergoing a series of repairs to plug cracks and holes, fix stairwells and other sprucing up including a new paint job.

The $270,000 waterproofing and repair project will take place in two or three phases over the next three years. The garage will remain open throughout the project, though its three stairwells will close sporadically as crews work to repair the stairs in the four-level garage, said David Pomerantz, director of Central Services.

Meantime, in an unrelated development, the exit terminal that accepts white plastic cards from people leaving the garage stopped working about a week ago. The malfunction has caused confusion for some trying to use the garage, but Pomerantz said the structure remains open. He said the city is waiting for replacement parts, which could come next week.

“The mechanism is worn down from the cards being fed through it,” Pomerantz said.

He said the city is not losing money because garage users are still taking key cards as they enter the garage and paying before they leave.

The first phase of the 430-space garage’s face-lift began this week and is expected to last about six weeks, with most of the work taking place on the upper decks. Pomerantz said work crews are resealing joints around the garage’s perimeter and checking to ensure that the welding is strong. Additionally, the vertical columns are being cleaned and any cracks are being repaired.

“We’re starting at the top and working our way down,” Pomerantz said.

Work in the first phase also includes repairs to the stairwells, with one stairwell closing at a time, Pomerantz said. The southwest stairwell at Old South Street closed earlier this week and is expected to reopen Friday or early next week. Up next will be the northeast stairwell next to Armory Street, followed by the middle stairwell.

The project’s ensuing phases will start next spring or fall. Pomerantz said this work involves joint sealing and epoxy recoating in the interior of the garage. Crews will also fill cracks and make other repairs to the third-floor walkway that connects the garage to Thornes Marketplace.

Various areas will also get a fresh coat of paint. Other future work involves electrical and elevator upgrades.

“This is all to address deferred maintenance and aging that has occurred,” Pomerantz said.

The costs will be paid for with money already allocated in previous capital plans approved by the City Council. At a meeting last month, the council approved reallocating a small amount of leftover money from a garage painting project to cover some of the current project’s expenses.

Mayor David J. Narkewicz said it is important for the city to move ahead with the work to the garage.

“It’s a very expensive structure and it needs to be taken care of properly so that we can make sure it lasts and is safe and performs,” the mayor told the council in September.

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