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Concerns raised over financing of Greenville re-development - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Concerns raised over financing of Greenville re-development

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

Changes are coming to Greenville.
     
Plans for a new parking deck were approved, but city officials said a proposed office building nearby isn't going to happen.

The parking deck and the office space were supposed to be built around the same time, but city officials said they've nixed the plan for the office space because it was just too expensive.

The parking deck will be 4-stories high and will have 180 leased spaces. The rest will be reserved for the public on the corner of 4th and Cotanche streets.
     
The question is what to do with the $183,000 city-owned lot nearby that was supposed to be that office space.
     
While there is a lot of support for the construction, some city council members have questions about the new financing plan.

"Do you feel that it's a waste of money letting that lot just sit there," asked 9 On Your Side. "A waste of resources?"

"I think 100-thousand dollars is an investment," said Mayor Allen Thomas, Greenville.

Like Thomas, Councilman Calvin Mercer supports the parking deck, but he has some concerns about the proposed office space falling through.

"The original plan was to build the office first. Now that we can't build the office first, we can't close down Evans Street because we don't want to inconvenience those businesses. So that means we're going to have to build those buildings off hours, if we build them at all, and that's going to increase the cost," said Calvin Mercer, city councilman.

In the proposed budget, the city would now borrow the estimated $4-million to build the deck, rather than using money set aside by previous councils.
     
That money is now proposed to go toward an upgraded computer system for the city.

"This is a new funding plan and I have to think through that," said Mercer. "I'm concerned about borrowing money anytime I want to do it carefully."

But Thomas said lending is at a low rate and leasing the parking spaces in the deck will help offset the cost.

"Are you confident that all this construction is going to pan out," asked 9 On Your Side. "It's going to work?"

"You don't build any of this on speculation, you build this off commitments of lease holders," said Thomas. "That's why certain projects are done and that's also why the smaller, 3-story development on Evans is not going to be done."

Mayor Thomas said there have been some talks about turning the once-proposed office space into a small park, similar to what you see in downtown New Bern.
     
They will be discussing ideas at future city council meetings.

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