City awards contract on parking lot

PARKERSBURG – City officials hope to have a downtown parking lot completed this year, though the project may run over into the beginning of 2014.

The property at the corner of Juliana and Seventh streets was given to West Virginia University at Parkersburg in April by the Erickson Foundation. The college then entered in an agreement with the city to develop the property into a parking lot.

Officials have said the lot would be used primarily by students at WVU-Parkersburg’s downtown campus on Market Street, but it would provide temporary parking for any visitors to downtown. Currently people must either find street parking or pay for monthly parking spaces.

Construction of the parking lot earlier this summer was delayed following confusion over the need for state officials to sign off on the project.

Parkersburg City Engineer Justin Smith said Thursday a contract for the parking lot and retaining wall was awarded this week to 3D Construction of Parkersburg. The contract is for $151,393.

Smith said city crews have begun work on two sidewalks and a rain garden for the lot.

“That will take about a month,” then the contractor will begin work on the main parking lot and wall, he said. “The contractor will have 60 days from that time to complete his work.”

Smith said that could put completion of the project into the beginning of 2014.

“The weather is going to be a big factor,” he said.

Mayor Bob Newell said there was some concern the project would not be completed this fall and would have to be finished next spring, but said he now believes the project will move forward as planned.

“There was some concern the asphalt plants might close early, but right now that doesn’t seem to be the case,” he said. The only areas requiring asphalt will be the center driving area of the parking lot.

Smith said the parking lot will be unique in Parkersburg because it will be the first to use permeable pavers, large sections of stone that allow water to soak through.

Using the pavers and rain gardens means an underground retention system does not have to be installed to handle stormwater runoff.

“The water just soaks down through. We are hoping for 100 percent capture of the runoff,” Smith said. Though the pavers are more expensive than asphalt, Smith said that cost will be offset by the city not having to install a retention system.

Smith said the city will save money by having part of the project- the sidewalks and rain garden- completed by city crews.

“When we do projects in house, in general, it’s about a third of the cost of what a contractor would charge,” he said. “We don’t have the manpower to do all of the projects in house, but we take on the smaller projects and the larger ones go to contractors.”