Roger Bintliff estimates that in four to six weeks, his Corner Brew will be open in Gardiner.

Corner Brew is the coffee shop he is developing in part of the Dingley Block on Water Street that he bought last winter.

It will join Bateau Brewing, a craft brewery and tasting room that opened at the end of August, in hopefully drawing more people to the south end of Water Street.

Slowly but surely, the five buildings of the Dingley Block are taking on new life, including eight apartments on the upper floors. And as they do, that new development is shining a light on the parking problem in downtown Gardiner.

“I hear about it all the time,” Melissa Lindley, executive director of Gardiner Main Street said Thursday. “It’s frustrating.”

People are talking about the difficulty they have finding parking spaces in and around Water Street.

To help find a solution, city officials are partnering with the state Department of Transportation and the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments to complete a parking study of downtown Gardiner.

City Manager Christine Landes said Thursday the study is on track to finish by November and be presented to the City Council at a meeting that month.

A key part will be an online survey, which is expected to be launched next month. It is intended to collect opinions of those who work, live and shop in the area, and to gather demographic data to understand how much parking is needed.

The results of the survey may also be used in future planning for downtown.

“If anything,” Landes said, “it will identify the need to research more parking possibilities for downtown Gardiner.”

One option in the short term is a vacant lot on Water Street, at the site of the former Bailey’s Auto Sales lot just south of the Dingley Block that Gardiner Maine Street acquired when it acquired the Dingley Block.

The dealership occupied the site from 1927 until 2012, when the building was demolished. Since then, the rare, developable lot on Water Street has been vacant.

Gardiner Main Street has secured $110,000 from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development to address the industrial contaminants that have been found on that site.

On Tuesday, representatives of Ransom Consulting held a public meeting at the Gardiner Public Library to talk about the direction the project is taking. After evaluating the options, the recommended action is to lay down a marker layer and cover the land with soil and gravel to keep people and animals from coming into contact with the contamination.

Jamie Madore, an environmental engineer with Ransom Consulting, said the contaminants that have been catalogued are consistent with the site’s having been home to an auto-related business, including petroleum and aromatic hydrocarbons, arsenic and lead.

It is possible the quarter-acre site, which slopes toward the Kennebec River, could be leveled with gravel to create a flatter parcel, Madore said, to make it more developable.

“The funds we have are for environmental cleanup,” she said, “not for making a parking lot.”

The meeting fell in the middle of the project’s public comment period, scheduled to end Oct. 2. Comments can be submitted through Gardiner Main Street until that time.

Once public commenting is over, the project’s designs and bid specifications will be completed and reviewed, Madore said. The intent is to put the project out to bid this winter, with construction to start whenever the contractors are available and weather.

“We expect the whole things completed and closed out by summer next year,” Madore said.

Landes said another option is talking with Camden National Bank. When it acquired the Bank of Maine in a deal that closed in 2015, Camden National acquired all the Gardiner property, including two lots on Water Street, south of the Gardiner Public Library, and parking on Mechanic Street.

In the meantime, it is possible the former Bailey’s Auto lot could be used for parking. It would accommodate about 14 vehicles.

“If the city installs some granite curbing, we could fill the gravel behind it,” Madore said.

Bintliff said he hopes the lot could be used for parking to help reduce congestion off Water Street and handle overflow parking from the Waterfront Park, which attracts boaters and concertgoers in the summer.

Both Bintliff and Alan Claude, who bought two buildings of the Dingley Block, are developing apartments in the upper floors of their buildings.

“There’s also no overnight parking on Water Street,” Bintliff said. “That’s crazy because we cannot attract decent tenants who want to park four blocks away and carry their groceries up three flights of stairs.”

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