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Clayton officials working to alleviate inevitable parking shortage

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With Krog Corp. aiming to break ground on its four-story hotel project at the Frink site as soon as spring, the parking shortage in the village is going to be a major issue next summer.

But officials, from both the town and village boards, think they have found a few solutions.

Already, the two boards have committed to expanding two parking areas — one on Graves Street near the Clayton Fire Department and the other at the Lions Field on Webb Street — and officials now are considering a possible trolley service transporting visitors to and from the downtown business district.

Town Councilman Robert W. Cantwell III, who sits on a joint parking committee, said that for more than a year, Clayton has been preparing for the eventual sale of the 8.4-acre property that has been used as an open parking lot.

Fellow committee member and Village Trustee Dennis H. Honeywell said that the two proposed parking lot expansion projects can be done in-house and that the village Department of Public Works and town Highway Department will be sharing manpower and equipment.

Together, the two projects would double the parking spaces now available at the sites, adding roughly 65 much-needed parking spaces before the beginning of the summer tourist season.

The Graves Street parking lot has room for about 30 vehicles at the moment, and Lions Field has approximately 40 parking spaces.

Mr. Cantwell said the town will fund the Graves Street project and the village would be in charge of the Lions Field work. Officials are in the design phase and have yet to determine how much these projects will cost.

Mr. Honeywell said while the trolley service is just a proposal, it would be a “classy” way to get people around the village and would add to the convenience of visitors to Clayton.

There are a few other smaller properties the committee is considering turning into parking spaces, but those plans are preliminary, Mr. Cantwell and Mr. Honeywell said.

The Buffalo-based Krog, in partnership with Hart Hotels, plans to purchase the $2.1 million former Frink America site as soon as next week and build a four-story luxury hotel on the waterfront property by spring 2014.

Krog’s $26 million “Clayton Harbor Hotel” project includes a hotel with approximately 104 rooms; a restaurant/lounge; a 275-seat ballroom; business and fitness centers; an indoor pool, and roughly a dozen townhouses.

Krog officials said the hotel’s 12- to 14-month construction will begin in “mid-2013.”

Additionally, the village is considering replacing antiquated coin-operated parking meters downtown with high-tech pay stations within the next few years, Mr. Honeywell said.

Not only are coin-operated meters inconvenient, but Clayton has been struggling with enforcement because of the high volume of downtown traffic in the summer.

The electronic pay stations being considered by Clayton are common in nearby Canadian cities, including Kingston, Gananoque and Brockville, and accept credit cards, bills and tokens as well as coins and print out custom parking slips.

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