After building destroyed by fire, vacant lot could ease Middletown parking problems

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MIDDLETOWN — City council members will be asked to approve a request for $300,000 to buy land in the North End to create additional space in a town center where spaces are sometimes hard to come by.

The Planning and Zoning Board has recommended that City Council approve the purchase of an empty lot at 31 Rapallo Ave.

The city wants to buy 0.21 acres of land in the North End, the former site of a 14-apartment building destroyed by fire.

The $300,000 will be used to assess, demolish and clean up the land, as requested.

The acquisition aligns with the 2020 Conservation and Development Plan, “as the goal is to provide downtown parking that will be available, accessible and discreet,” Marek said in a March 4 memo. .

JD Realty Management of East Haven owns the parcel and the adjacent parcel at 7 Rapallo Ave.

The city is looking to add more off-street parking in the North End as it has lost spaces in the area due to development and redevelopment, said Director of Economic and Community Development Joseph Samolis. Between the two properties, approximately 40 places would be created.

The lack of parking spaces in the Main Street area has been a problem for some time and often forces motorists to circle the block multiple times on busy days in search of a space.

Middletown has over 1,100 public parking spaces spread over approximately eight municipal lots as well as paid street parking. This does not include those on North End side streets, such as Ferry, Rapallo, Green, Liberty or Grand streets, said Roger Beliveau, director of parking service operations.

There are also 10-minute spots on Main Street that allow restaurant patrons to order, “grab and go,” Samolis said.

The Rapallo Avenue multi-family dwelling was razed to the ground last year following a devastating fire, city planner Marek Kozikowski said in the March 4 memo.

The owner invested $150,000 to demolish the building and clear the land. It was valued in September at between $128,000 and $152,000, according to city documents.

“These spaces will help alleviate the severe parking shortage in the North End,” Samolis wrote in the application. It will also make it easier for people to patronize local businesses, he added.

Many parking spaces were lost when the Arcade lot on Court Street was demolished in March 2018. After undergoing temporary repairs several times over the decades, the then 50-year-old dilapidated structure between Dingwall Drive and Court Street was razed due to major security issues and other issues.

The city closed the majority of the garage’s lower level in December 2013.


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