New Castle News

October 3, 2012

North Hill parking facility is a lot of lot

Nancy Lowry
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The Allied Coordinated Transportation Services parking facility on North Mercer Street is a lot of lot.

Stone pillars surrounding a newly paved lot represent phase one of a parking/maintenance facility. It will ultimately include a bus wash and three-bay garage, where engine maintenance and repair can be done, at the site of the former Learning Tree Child Care Center at 701 N. Mercer St.

“It will look like one big complex.” Tom Scott said.

As director of Lawrence County Community Action Partnership, Scott serves as chief executive officer of ACTS, Lawrence County Services and United Community Services.

The parking corral will house nearly 50 vehicles owned and operated by the various agencies Scott oversees. They are currently parked throughout the city.

 “Our goal is to collect them under one roof in one place at one location,” he said.

Vehicles include a dozen Head Start buses, nine weatherization vehicles, 23 ACTS buses and assorted trailers and backhoes. All will be secured in the lot which will be “finished” with the addition of black wrought iron fencing to be installed between the existing pillars. Concrete is being poured for matching black light posts. Security cameras already have been installed and a gate will be put into place.

Phase two of the operation will convert the former day care center offices to classrooms for participants. The bus wash and garage will enable staff and program participants to change oil, do brake work and small maintenance jobs on the vehicle engines.

“When it is completed, it will look like one, big campus,” Scott said.

The project began in July. Progress was slowed, he said, because of the number of “scorchingly hot days” that limited the hours that could be worked outdoors. Scott added the availability of funding also had an impact.

“Without state grants readily available, ACTS fronted the money, which will be repaid over 10 years,” he said, adding, the cost of the project is “$170,000 and counting.

“We’ve always been good community partners. We believe that our project is sprucing up the neighborhood and improving the area much more than if we’d put up a chain link fence around a bunch of buses.”

He added the lot itself, a former landfill, was not suitable for building. It was purchased from the Cathedral Foundation, which had planned for years to create a parking lot at the site.

“They abandoned that idea and sold the lot to us,” Scott said. “It was a good opportunity.”

Using program participants to do much of the work also helped control costs.

Scott said the project is nearing completion and most of what remains is “cosmetic.”

“The lot was paved about two weeks ago. We will be lining it for the vehicles. It should have a new look once the fence is in place.”

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