FARMINGTON — A 27-space public parking lot on Church Street is nearing completion after a year of work, including buying and demolishing a house on the property.

The $160,000 project began in late spring 2015, when the town began eyeing the idea of a new parking lot in downtown, eventually buying an old home on Church Street in November with the intent of tearing it down and constructing a public parking lot.

Town Manager Richard Davis said the parking lot should be complete by the end of the week with an official ribbon cutting ceremony to follow. While hours regulating the use of the parking lot will not be set until after the completion of the parking lot, Davis said the public is free to use the parking lot when it is complete.

The Parking Ordinance Committee is meeting Tuesday to discuss how long the public will be allowed to park in the lot and other parking restrictions for the Church Street lot.

Davis said the project has gone smoothly and moved much quicker than he anticipated. Work on constructing the parking lot at 112 Church St. began after the 1866 multifamily home that formerly sat on the property was demolished last month.

“I’m very pleased with the contractor. They worked very quickly and efficiently,” Davis said.

Voters at a special town meeting in June 2015 gave the town permission to buy the building for $79,000 and the town officially closed on the property Nov. 5. Over the course of the winter, the town worked to clean out the 4,757-square-foot home and salvage any appliances or fixtures that could be sold. After an asbestos survey of the building found asbestos in the flooring tiles and chimney, an abatement was completed at a cost of $8,000.

The parking lot project is being funded through the downtown tax increment financing reserve account. Davis said the project is staying pretty close to the budget, though he will be asking selectmen at a special meeting on Monday to authorize the use of an additional $2,000 to $3,000 for the purchase and planting of shrubs to go along the side of the parking lot that borders Cony Street.

Davis said the area of the parking lot alongside Cony Street would be difficult to mow, so something else needs to be planted there so the area does not erode due to rain water. Before the parking lot is complete, streetlights need to be installed and the striping of the spaces needs to be done.

The parking lot was originally supposed to have 28 parking spaces, but Davis said the town decided to eliminate one space to leave room for the possibility of installing public restrooms, possibly as soon as next summer.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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