To the Editor:
I have read several articles and letters about the privately owned parking lot on Clark Point road in Southwest Harbor. Many writers urge the Town of Southwest Harbor to buy this lot (for a rumored $800,000) for public parking.
I really question the wisdom of such a purchase. The town already has a lot of available parking spaces, many of which are rarely used. The lot above the town offices often has 8-10 open spots. I know that this lot is not right beside the 5-7 businesses that the post office lot serves, but it is available for parking.
Eight to nine months a year, there is no parking shortage in Southwest.
Another huge consideration that we, the property taxpayers and town officials should consider is the potential and probable environmental problems that lie under this lot. Not that many years ago, there was a car dealership that sold autos, repaired cars and did body work.
The town just recently went through a costly clean-up of another old body shop just down the street. Also on the same lot was a gas station with underground tanks, a plumbing shop that used lead in joints at that time and a carpenter shop that did painting and varnishing.
The school just revamped its playground rebuild proposal so they wouldn’t have to dig up any of the retaining walls or fencing in this same parking lot and possibly/probably find contaminants that could have killed their project.
The town certainly doesn’t need that parking lot and all the problems that will come with it, such as maintenance, snow plowing and policing. If the adjacent businesses feel they need that space, then they should get together and buy it from its present owner.
They should use the Drydock Restaurant as a fine example. If they need/want more parking, then buy property and have their own parking lot. Don’t look to the taxpayers in town who just live there but don’t own a business there to subsidize a parking lot for them.