Harrisburg Mayor unveils ambitious parking proposal

Harrisburg Mayor Stephen R. Reed this afternoon revealed a plan to lease 11 Harrisburg Parking Authority garages, its parking lots and approximately 900 metered parking spaces in the city to a private company, which would pay the authority a one-time up front sum of $215 million.

Harrisburg Mayor Stephen R. Reed this afternoon revealed a plan to lease 11 Harrisburg Parking Authority garages, its parking lots and approximately 900 metered parking spaces in the city to a private company, which would pay the authority a one-time up front sum of $215 million. Harrisburg Public Parking (HPP) would also pay $588,000 per year for operating an authority parking lot at Seventh and North streets, to pay for the authority’s annual administrative costs and to pay the city for overtime parking violations at meters.

Another stipulation would require HPP to pay the parking authority an additional $3.8 million if a high-rise is not developed on the parking lot at North and Seventh streets in the next five years, Reed said. Reed hopes to close the deal by July 31, he said.

Under the mayor’s plan, the city would use the money to pay off parking authority bonds of more than $112.8 million and city debt of approximately $93.6 million, provide tax rebates to city residents and to hire 15 more police officers, other city employees and six pieces of heavy equipment. Reed would also form the city’s first Neighborhood Blight Squad with the money, which would be made up by five employees who would clear debris, secure empty buildings and remove graffiti everyday.

HPP would sign a 75-year lease under the proposal. The authority would still own and operate parking on City Island, Reed said. It would own the garages HPP would operate under the lease. The authority could still develop new parking garages, Reed said. HPP is owned by New York-based North American Strategic Infrastructure Partners and Connecticut-based LAZ Parking.

The plan hinges on City Council’s approval and negotiations with AFSCME local 521 B, the union which represents authority parking garage employees. The new operator would employ existing garage employees at the same rate and might add more workers, Reed said.

HPP would be responsible for upkeep and future garage maintenance during the lease term, Reed said. The company plans to invest $6 million in the facilities in the short term, he said.

State law requires leases of 30 years or more to be subjected to real estate transfer taxes, Reed said. This deal would deliver about $1.1 million in transfer taxes to the city and the Harrisburg School District, separately, he said.

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