RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- Ridgewood Mayor Paul Aronson said he plans to propose an $11.5 million bond ordinance for the construction and new renderings for a Hudson Street parking deck at a special public meeting in addition to a planned work session March 2.
If the bond ordinance is approved by the council, the village would finance the project on its own, Aronsohn told Daily Voice.
If it gets voted down, Ridgewood would pursue a deal already approved by the council to partner with the Bergen County Improvement Authority (BCIA).
The village council by a 3-2 vote earlier this month approved allowing the BCIA to pay for the 43-foot, 325-car deck.
"Although I believe that a partnership with BCIA would be very good for Ridgewood, I'm willing to re-introduce the bond ordinance if doing so means that all five council members would support it," Aronsohn said.
Last month, Councilman Michael Sedon and Councilwoman Susan Knudsen voted against a $12.3 million bond ordinance that required a 4-1 majority to allow the village to borrow money for the project.
Asked if he would change his vote come March, Sedon would only say that he's awaiting enforcement time and meter rate increases, as well as the renderings.
"This is sorely needed," Aronson said of the parking deck. "It looks like a very good opportunity for Ridgewood and the county....This is a big undertaking, and we're trying to get it right.
"The parking deck is being designed for what's best for Ridgewood, regardless of who finances it," he said.
Parking problems have challenged business success, pedestrian safety and the overall "quality of life" in downtown Ridgewood, the mayor said.
Village officials have taken "Band Aid" approaches to the problems, said Aronsohn, citing nightly valet parking, extended meter times and the ParkMobile app for smartphones.
The mayor said he hopes the new garage will make Ridgewood more welcoming to commuters but said "we must take care of residents first and foremost."
The work session is scheduled to begin at 7:30 at Village Hall on North Maple Avenue.
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