A view of Westbrook’s parking garage from Willian Clarke Drive. Robert Lowell / American Journal

These signs went up late last summer during the tenure of Mayor Michael Foley.  Robert Lowell / American Journal

The date Westbrook’s multimillion-dollar parking garage will open remains unknown this week, months after the city posted “opening soon” signs throughout downtown.

“My understanding is that the setting of an official opening date is primarily pending final inspection from the state of the elevator,” Mayor David Morse said this week. “The garage needs to be fully accessible in order to be open to the public.”

Morse said the garage has 407 parking spaces and will be free to users but Project Manager Robyn Saunders said the city might not have an opening day set for a few more weeks.

Time has dragged on since signs were posted. “People are talking about the garage every day,” Joe Salisbury, owner of The Daily Grind coffee shop in downtown Westbrook, said Tuesday.

The city blames supply chain problems for the delay.

“Electrical components have caused substantial delays globally in the construction industry,” Saunders said. “Our parking garage is not exempt from those issues.”


The electrical components are in and power has been installed, she said. Subcontractors are completing installation of security cameras, communication systems, elevator systems, fire monitoring and other lighting and safety systems.

Local and state inspections will take some time and staff will require training to maintain and operate the
systems, she said.

“The city cannot set an opening date until the inspections progress,” she said.

The garage cost about $21 million, according to Saunders, and proceeds from a TIF are paying for it.

It will be a “great benefit to our current and future downtown businesses,” Morse said.

Saunders said the garage will be open around the clock, seven days a week, dispelling recent rumors buzzing through downtown that hours would be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Morse said a few residents have voiced safety concerns about parking in the garage. He said glass stairwells have been designed for security visibility in addition to increased lighting in and around the garage, besides security cameras and emergency call boxes.

The entrance into Westbrook’s $21 million dollar parking garage from Vertical Way. Robert Lowell / American Journal

“The infusion of parking spaces into the downtown will provide more choices for parking than ever. So, if a garage is not your preference, then you still benefit from it because it makes the alternatives more available,” Morse said.

The garage went up during the tenure of Mayor Michael Foley, who resigned in February. Foley wrote in a Forum published Sept. 28 last year that the garage was to open soon and, earlier in an American Journal story Aug. 17, 2022, Foley expected the garage would open sometime near the end of 2023.

With the garage built, the city advertised last year for proposals to develop mixed-use buildings on surface parking lots – one on Main Street and two on Church Street.

Salisbury said his customers’ conversations are about the parking garage, the Vertical Harvest and the status of the three parking lots the city wants to build on. He said the general consensus is since the parking garage is already built “we need to embrace it and see how it will be used once it’s open. See how it will impact the downtown, if at all.”

“Let’s get the garage open for a year and see if people use it before we move forward and build on three lots downtown that we can never get back,” Salisbury said.

Morse said Wednesday that the 2006 parking study will be updated and commencement of it awaits the opening of the parking garage. Morse expects refinement of building projects will preserve more parking spaces than in initial proposals.

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