Overflow Parking Solution
September 6, 2022
To: Phillipsburg Mayor and Phillipsburg Town Council
From: Mike King of the Phillipsburg Riverview Organization (PRO)
Dear Mayor Tersigni and Council Members
The simple survival and hoped for success of the first block of S Main St depends on over flow parking on Riverside Way available for business and residents. My primary motivation to doggedly pursue the town’s purchase of those three acres -all those years ago- was the dire need for parking. From my experience, let me provide some background.
Back in the early 1990s, Mayor Decker claimed that the proposed development - in the area behind the gas station in Union Square - would jumpstart a revitalization downtown and bring in needed tax ratable.
The town assessor, at that time, issued a letter indicating that if parking were provided behind the gas station that the value of the buildings on the first block of S. Main Street would increase dramatically and bring in far more tax ratable than could be generated, by what was proposed behind the gas station
Mayor Decker, of course, was furious to be contradicted, especially by a knowledgeable professional on her staff. However, she remained willfully blind as to what it would take to revitalize the first block of S. Main St. I begged her to secure 20 parking spaces, or even 10 parking spaces, alongside the gas station but she would not budge.
In the meantime, a fisherman and member of PRO, had located federal funds that
could remake the boat ramp, so it wouldn’t be so difficult for boat trailers to get in and out. Mayor Decker was very excited about the chance to access the funds and began to have engineering staff redesign the boat ramp. But the funds would not be released unless parking for the boat trailers could be guaranteed. After all, what good is a redesigned boat ramp, if there’s no place to park your boat trailers?
It’s hard to understand but Mayor Decker adamantly opposed the purchase of those 3 acres, by the town. And therefore the property was not purchased and the funds were not released. After her term, Mayor Corcoran was elected, as the new mayor, but he also opposed the purchase. Eventually three council members approved the purchase and the funds to redesign the boat ramp were released
Yes, some section of the three acres was essential for boat trailer parking. But even more important was the dire need for over flow parking for the first block of S Main Street. Anyone with eyes could see what was holding back prosperity was the chronic shortage of parking
Fast forward thirty years, the arrival of the Marijuana Apothecarium at 55 S Main, reminds me of thirty years ago, and anyone with eyes can see there’s a shortage of parking and that Riverside Way is essential to businesses and residents. Recently, a for pay kiosk was installed on Riverside Way but provisions were not made to recognize town parking permits for residents and businesses people. Hopefully that is being corrected
What’s worse: a Town Council person revealed to me a residential development is being considered on Riverside Way, that would not provide parking for the first block of S Main Street. In my view, it would be a mistake to ruin the sense of openness, in the only area in the entire town, where the river is accessible, with a residential development. Also, not providing parking for the first block of S Main, would undermine any chance of success in that section of downtown.
Phillipsburg is blessed to have a historic distinctive row of buildings, in the first block of S Main Street, anchored by the Union Square Hotel, dating from 1812. Nowadays it cannot thrive without parking -that is as true today, as it was thirty years ago
Michael King President/Chairman
Phillipsburg Riverview Organization