Need more spaces? Downtown parking blossoms

By Jason Hawk -

Having trouble finding a place to park downtown?

There’s good news — Amherst’s heart is getting about 65 new parking spaces.

Mayor Mark Costilow mapped out for the News-Times his goal to put about 15 extra spots on Prospect Street between the Main Street Community Center and University Hospitals Amherst Health Center.

Those spaces will be close to the hospital’s helicopter landing pad.

Another 15 will be paved in a green space behind Arabica Coffee House and LifeCare Ambulance, widening the city’s downtown public lot.

Four more spots are being added to that municipal lot through re-striping.

About 30 spaces have already been added on Maple Street on the far side of the Norfolk & Southern railway overpass.

To pay for the paving, the city is using $113,400 from a state Community Development Block Grant won by Main Street Amherst.

Costilow said another $30,000 will be taken from the city coffers to cover the cost.

He said Main Street Amherst, the nonprofit that promotes downtown businesses, will concentrate on getting shop employees to park in farther-away spots during busy times. Hopefully that will free up closer spaces for shoppers and diners.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

By Jason Hawk