Town Sets Date To Close Garage For Repairs

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Among the pets that were recently available for adoption at the Town of Oyster Bay Animal Shelter were, clockwise from top left, “Buddy,” an 8-year-old pit bull terrier; “Finle,” a 9-year-old, female, domestic short hair; “Flurry,” a young female between 1 and 2 years old; and “Coco,” a Havana cat originated from the Siamese breed. View all shelter animals at oysterbaytown.com. The town is offering free pet adoptions in September. (Contributed Photos)

The vast asphalt expanse of the Sears parking lot will absorb the commuter parking spaces that will be lost when the Hicksville Parking Garage closes for repairs on Wednesday, Sept. 12.

Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino made the announcement at the Aug. 14 town board meeting. The closure had been expected ever since the town chose SST Pullman of New Jersey last month to repair the 1,440-car facility at the corner of Broadway and Duffy Avenue. It mainly serves the adjacent railroad station, the third busiest in the LIRR system.

Dozens of parking spaces have been lost to emergency shoring columns ever since through-cracks were discovered in the slabs on the two lower levels in March 2017.

The four-level garage has reportedly been plagued by problems ever since opening in 2011. The town spent about $65 million to tear down the old structure on the same footprint and put up the new one.

According to a press release from the town, “Repairs will include replacement of concrete decking; crack repair; placement of carbon fiber reinforcement; drainage improvements; replacement of the lighting and security systems; replacement of the carbon monoxide detection system and fire detection infrastructure; modifications to the sprinkler and ventilation systems; and the addition of mechanical units in stairwells.”

The town was hoping to start construction in July, during the less busy summer months, but the repair bids all came in higher than the estimated $13.2 million, ranging from $15.5 to $17.4 million. After the contract was re-bid, SST Pullman came in with a low offer of $13.876 million, beating out three area firms.

The town expects repairs to take 90 days and the garage should reopen before the end of 2018.

A town parking permit will be required to use the Sears lot. Contact the town clerk’s office at 516-624-6333 for information on permits.

The town will provide free shuttle bus service between the Sears lot and the Hicksville station from 5 to 9 a.m. and again from 4 to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday.

According to Brian Nevin, a town spokesperson, the Sears property is being leased to the town at no cost. Shuttle buses are estimated to cost $144,000 over 12 weeks.

Paul Molinari of Hicksville, at the Aug. 14 meeting, objected to the costs affiliated with providing shuttle services. He pointed out that people who park at the far lots on Woodbury Road already have as long a walk to the station. A rough estimation on Google Maps showed a distance of about .4 miles from the southern edge of the Sears lot to the station.

There are 12 other lots in downtown Hicksville offering parking for commuters with a parking permit. But as residents have pointed out at past meetings, these tend to fill up early, and some are privately owned with steep rates.

Oyster Bay will float $18.1 million in bonds to pay for the repairs, and has sued the garage’s contractor and engineering firm to recover the costs of repairs.

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Frank Rizzo is a journalist at Anton Media Group. With decades of experience in the industry, he is exceptionally equipped to cover local politics, business and other topics that matter to readers.

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