Parking lot purchase eyed by Norwich

Norwich - The city is interested in purchasing a small parking lot at 68 Broadway, between the city Human Services office and the Norwich Arts Center, from Dime Bank.

The bank closed off the lot with a chain, preventing it from being used by patrons of nearby businesses, city offices or the Norwich Arts Center. Mayor Deberey Hinchey said the immediate benefit to the city's purchase of the lot would be to those entities. Public parking is nearly nonexistent on the narrow one-way section of lower Broadway, which has only a few on-street spaces, some of those restricted to handicapped parking, loading zone or 15-minute limited time periods.

Hinchey placed a resolution on Monday's City Council agenda to ask the council to authorize City Manager Alan Bergren to negotiate with Dime Bank in an effort to purchase the lot. If approved by the council, Bergren would be asked to report results of the negotiations by the Oct. 6 council meeting.

Diane G. Papadakos, vice president and director of marketing and sales for Dime Bank, said the bank no longer uses the lot and is interested in selling it. The lot is assessed at $31,600.

The Dime Bank branch across the street will remain open and has parking for customers and employees in the adjacent parking garage, Papadakos said. "Several groups have expressed interest in purchasing the lot, including the city of Norwich," Papadakos said.

"I think it's a resource we could open up for businesses," Hinchey said.

She said although the lot is not officially on the market, she has discussed the possible city purchase of the lot with Dime Bank officials.

No price or funding source from the city budget has been identified for the possible purchase. Hinchey said some money could come from the mayor's economic development fund, which was budgeted at $25,000 this year.

Hinchey also suggested that the city could apply for funding from the Sachem Fund in the new round of grant applications. The fund has $273,453 in available funds dedicated to economic development, arts, historic preservation and tourism projects.

c.bessette@theday.com

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