Two downtown parking lots in Northampton to be closed for repairs

  • CONTRIBUTED IMAGE

  • The Masonic Street parking lot in Northampton is expected to be closed three months for repairs to a sewer line. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Robert McGovern, owner of Packard's, and Jason Foster, owner of Masonic Street Laundry, talk about the closure of the Masonic Street parking lot in Northampton for needed repairs to the sewer line beneath. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • The Masonic Street parking lot in Northampton is expected to be closed three months for repairs to a sewer line. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 5/7/2021 5:33:37 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Two old and deteriorating downtown parking lots are expected to close this summer for repairs, making some 225-plus parking spaces unusable just as businesses are reopening following the pandemic.

City officials say the Masonic Street and the Round House lots are in dire need of maintenance, with the Masonic Street lot needing “immediate attention,” Department of Public Works Director Donna LaScaleia said.

“The sewer line over time has become what we refer to as pancaked,” LaScaleia said, meaning that the pipe deteriorated and flattened on itself.

The entire 53-space Masonic lot will be closed, likely starting this month, for about three months, LaScaleia said.

The sewer main was first installed in 1894 and will be replaced, she said. “The pipe is compromised and that can certainly cause interruptions in service,” she said. “That’s why this needs immediate attention.”

The city is working to secure temporary replacement parking spots, said Alan Wolf, chief of staff to Mayor David Narkewicz.

“It’s tough,” Wolf said. “We definitely feel for everybody when they are excited to open and then this sewer line fails,” he said. “The timing sucks.”

Robert McGovern, who owns Packard’s bar and restaurant across the street from the Masonic lot, hopes the city can get alternative parking.

“As much as we don’t like it, and it’s really a pain in the a– at the absolute wrong time to do it, it can’t be helped,” he said of the construction. “It’s no one’s fault.”

Elsewhere in downtown, the Round House lot, which has 175 spaces, will be also soon be closed for several months starting in mid-June.

“The lot needs to be rebuilt,” said David Pomerantz, director of the city’s Central Services department. “We’ve done patching work here and there over the years, but the asphalt has really deteriorated to the point that it really needs to be redone.”

He hopes construction will be complete by late August. The project will also add 22 new parking spaces by reconfiguring the lot and the lighting will be upgraded, Pomerantz said. There will be a bike path detour through Veterans’ Field and onto Clark Avenue and Old South Street, he said.

Another downtown change: Part of Strong Avenue will soon be closed to create space for outdoor dining, Wolf said. It’s set to open around Memorial Day.

Greta Jochem can be reached at gjochem@gazettenet.com.


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