County's parking garage set for maintenance

Feb. 12—Though in use a little more than five full years, Crawford County's employee parking garage in downtown Meadville is set for preventive maintenance this year, according to county commissioners.

The two-tier, 130-space concrete parking garage was built in 2018 at Walnut Street and Chancery Lane and cost the county $2.3 million. Located near the Crawford County Courthouse and the Crawford County Judicial Center, the garage opened on Dec. 3 that year.

The work — a protective membrane paint to be applied to the garage's exposed top deck — is to keep the structure from potentially crumbling prematurely, commissioners said.

The recommendation came from The EADS Group, a construction engineering and design firm which the county consulted.

"There are no structural deficiencies," Eric Henry, chairman of Crawford County Board of Commissioners, told The Meadville Tribune.

"Like all buildings in northwestern Pennsylvania, the top deck is exposed the most to the (weather) elements," he said. "The membrane paint seals the deck. The engineers said to think of it like the roof of a house. You have to take care of it or you'll have trouble down the road."

The county's employee parking garage was built to help meet a city of Meadville parking requirement when the county built the new judicial center next to the courthouse. The judicial center opened in the summer of 2017.

To get a zoning variance from the Meadville Zoning Hearing Board for the judicial center's construction, the county was required to have at least 229 parking spaces for judicial center and courthouse employees.

To meet the parking space requirements, commissioners also built two street-level parking lots — a six-space lot at Chancery Lane and East Center Street and a nine-space lot off Walnut Street — with a combined cost of $385,000.

The county's new parking garage and the two new street-level parking lot spaces were combined with two existing county employee parking lots to meet the 229-space requirement. The two existing county-owned employee lots are on the south side of the courthouse and another southwest of Diamond Park off Chestnut Street.

Keith Gushard can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.