Opinion: New park could include garage

Creating a park on the grounds of the old municipal building is a wonderful idea. Such an open area will provide an attractive entrance to the Middlebury College campus. It will also serve as a readily accessible meeting ground for the college and town communities. It will present a beautiful vista; a broad expanse leading up to Twilight Hall.
Because of its topography however, this parcel of land is not ideally suited for a park. There is a significant gradient, actually a full story slope, between South Main Street and College Street. Additionally, the old municipal building and the gymnasium have full basements beneath them. Any attempt to level this land would take a huge amount of fill.
Rather than treating these factors as detriments, I suggest we utilize them to our advantage. We can do this by building a single level parking garage on the property and placing the park on top of it. This has been done in many cities to great advantage.
A parking garage beneath the park will provide benefits beyond the merely aesthetic. It will provide a substantial amount of daytime parking for citizens visiting the municipal offices and local businesses. It will also provide parking spaces for social events at the college president’s residence across the street during evening hours.
I believe this suggestion should be seriously considered in determining how best to utilize this valuable parcel of land.
Ralph Noyes

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