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Your Turn: Sound Off on Ambitious Parking, Retail Plan at Community Forum

Event scheduled for Nov. 14 at Village Hall promises to address resident questions, concerns.

If you have any unanswered questions on the bold Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce plan to add a large retail facility smack dab in the middle of downtown while also constructing several parking garages, you might want to head to Village Hall's third floor on Wednesday Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Paul Vagianos, who is among the contingent of business owners and landowners that developed the proposal, said the forum will "go as long as necessary" to answer any questions residents have.

In case you've forgotten, the plan calls for the construction of a bi-level 12,000 sq ft retail facility between Gilsenan's and The Gap on East Ridgewood Avenue. Between the land lease and the tax revenue, the chamber members believe they could bond for at least a parking garage at the Hudson Street lot.

The Hudson property would increase from 76 parking spots to 156 spaces, and would also include an adjoined 4,000 sq ft retail area. Should the money generated by the retail buildings be sufficient, another garage at Walnut Street would also be constructed. It would more than double the amount of spaces, from 89 to 205. In total, there projects to be 178 more spaces.

No taxpayer money is called for to fund the plan, the chamber has said.

Central to the plan coming to fruition is how much revenue can be made on the retail buildings. The parking garages would cost $7,942,000, necessitating an annual $317,680 bond. According to figures from real estate expert Bill Gilsenan, between taxes and the land lease the village would be receiving a total annual income of $331,500. Gilsenan used "conservative projections," the chamber members have said. They based their analysis on comprables from previous land leases in the village, which they said generated far more than the $15 per square foot they used as a base.

"The parking garages will simply act as a catylyst to reigniting the downtown," landlord and chamber member Ed Sullivan previously told Patch. "With every fire you need a match. Here's the match that will start the fire to re-ignite the downtown."

There still remain some questions. Should the land lease developers fold, the village would become a landlord. It's not a situation the village wants, but the chamber members – and Village Attorney Matt Rogers – said the village would then own the property free and clear. Still, some residents expressed skepticism.

While we're here – what questions do you have? What are your thoughts on the proposal?

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Boyd A. Loving October 05, 2012 at 11:37 PM
"No taxpayer money is called for to fund the plan, the chamber has said." Seriously now folks, does any Ridgewood taxpayer actually believe this?
Ridgewooder October 05, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Parking good. Revitilizing CBD good. Luxury downtown apartments good.
Ron Verdicchio October 06, 2012 at 01:13 PM
So if the scheme folds, then the Chamber, the landowners, and the developer walks away and the Village (taxpayers) own a negative revenue producing property? Wow! What a deal for the taxpayers!
News Man October 06, 2012 at 04:02 PM
To all the above commentators (that love their name in the news) slow down: Stop throwing obstacles in front of a plan and make suggestions of value that enhance an understanding of the objectives of the plan. Let's see some observations of the (general public first). What do the like or dislike about the recommendations made? Do they appear well thought out, can they improved or modified somwhat. Planning is difficult and criticitism is an easy way. Please share comments of value not just words in the wind that lead to nowhere.
Boyd A. Loving October 06, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Says the man who has not one good thing to say about Graydon Pool, ever.
maureen October 06, 2012 at 05:49 PM
the area would seem a bit congested. Why not just a parking facility without the added intrusion of retail ?
News Man October 06, 2012 at 06:33 PM
After that drowning in the Graydon muddy waters and a $10,000,000 trial verdict for negligence...it's easy to find fault with the Graydon mud hole. Now what?
News Man October 06, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Can we get a few more photos of the plan parts here again? I recall there were several.... where are they... please. They could put this topic back on track.
Long Time Resident October 06, 2012 at 10:19 PM
News Man, I happen to know of a few kids that have een killed and crippled in car accidents.....maye we should close all of the roads in ridgewood also??? Your logic is at best faulty and at worst crazy.

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