Once the DPW’s vehicle and equipment have been moved to the new garage, the city will finally be able to demolish the old garage and clear up the Lower Millyard for redevelopment, which has been a priority for city officials for years.
Desmarais estimated that the old garage could be demolished by the spring of 2014, and Kezer said he has already submitted a demolition permit for the building.
Kezer said he expects the permit to go through without any issues, but noted that there is an outside possibility that the Historical Commission could delay the demolition.
“The one possible hang-up is they can delay it up to 18 months if they designate it as a historically significant facility,” Kezer said. “They have that ability, but whether they do or not, I don’t know.”
Once the old garage is demolished, Kezer said the city would realign Water Street in order to create room for two new parcels of land on the Back River side of the area while leaving room for the new Heritage Park across the street, which will also include a new dock and boat ramp.
Kezer is seeking state grant funds to help finance those projects, and said the city would immediately work to get the necessary permitting work done once the funds were available.
“If we secure the funding, that’ll give us the green light to go ahead, because it costs money to permit,” Kezer said. “So you want to make sure you have the money in hand to do it.”
Similarly, Dan Healey, who owns Carriage Mills in the Lower Millyard, is planning an expansion of his property that will provide what Kezer called “class A” office space for prospective businesses, similar to what is available in the Upper Millyard.
“It will be brick buildings that are going to look really nice,” Kezer said. “If you were to go down there and see those green metal buildings, those are all going to disappear and new office space is going to come up.”