BRUNSWICK — Brunswick Town Council agreed Monday to spend another $25,000 to study the downtown’s parking crunch.

The study, paid for with revenue set aside for downtown economic development, continues the work from two years earlier. In 2018, a $75,000 study identified the Bank Street parking lot as the best option for a parking garage, which would provide about 449 parking spaces, according to economic development director Sally Costello.

That project, estimated at $15.7 million, was put on hold while the town addressed other projects, including a new elementary school and new fire station.

“In the interim, we’ve had continuing demand as we’ve had several residential projects come through our planning and development,” Costello said.

About 40 rental or condo units will become available within the next year, she said. That includes projects at the Wyler’s Building and the Tontine Mall at 150 and 149 and Maine St., respectively, as well as projects on Pleasant and Mill streets.

Council Chairperson John Perreault was the only councilor who opposed spending for the most recent study.

“I think it’s too bad that the citizens of Brunswick have to spend $12 million to $16 million on a potential parking garage,” Perreault said, “because of (landlords of) second- or third-story apartments not having to have their tenants have parking spaces.”

According to Costello, the new study will look at current and future parking demand, as well as options for shared parking with private parking lot owners. The consultant will also look at better managing the parking the town has, whether it’s pay-for-parking or timed parking or using residential parking passes.

Maine Street business owner and state Sen. Matthea Daughtry said Wednesday that, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, parking remained a huge problem in downtown Brunswick. Every change on Maine Street triggered concerns from businesses there about how it will impact their parking, she said.

“We definitely need a new parking survey,” Daughtry said Wednesday. “My only concern is keeping in mind the pandemic. It won’t be showing the true need of what we’re going to be looking at in the future, but it’s also a good thing once we’re in a place to gain some normalcy to see how some of the changes during the pandemic may impact the parking.”


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