Plans for a facelift for downtown Westminster moved a step closer to reality last night, when the city's Common Council accepted a $2.85 million bid from a Finksburg construction company to renovate Locust Lane and build a parking deck above the Longwell Avenue lot.
Kinsley Construction, the company building a 163-space parking structure at Westminster Square, submitted the lowest bid of the 11 companies seeking the job, city officials said.
"It's an investment in the truest sense of word," said Council President Damian L. Halstad. "This is a major component of the future growth of downtown."
Packaged as one bid, the Longwell and Locust Lane developments will be paid for through the Maryland State Infrastructure Loan Fund.
The three-level Longwell parking deck will add 200 spaces to the 125 spaces in the lot, which lies between Emerald Hill, Westminster's City Hall and Locust Lane.
The plaza between stores at the Locust Lane pedestrian mall will be repaved, which will make the area more accessible for the disabled. Also planned is the removal of large concrete planters and the addition of an outdoor eating area and a concrete stage for musical and theatrical performances.
Another part of the plan is to replace the pedestrian crosswalk on Main Street that connects the Westminster branch of the Carroll County Public Library with Locust Lane with a slightly elevated brick crosswalk.
"We've got that nice setting there we want to put to good use," said Councilman L. Gregory Pecoraro. "Locust Lane will be a good way to lead people from the garage to Main Street."
Some of the additions at Locust Lane will cost the city $342,805 - part of the $2.85 million to be paid to Kinsley Construction. About $192,000 of that money will be paid for in state Community Legacy money awarded to the city. The city and private property owners at Locust Lane will pay the balance.
Construction is scheduled to begin next month after the city's annual Fallfest, several days of activities at the end of the month celebrating Main Street merchants.