WITF: Harrisburg activist questions plan to lease parking facilities in the city

June 10, 2008

WITF reports:

The Harrisburg Parking Authority has approved a deal that would lease the city’s parking garages to a private company for 75 years, but the plan also needs to pass through City Council and the authority’s union. As both groups examine the proposal, one community activist is voicing his opposition to the plan. Darnell Williams, a self-described “City Council activist,” says he was for the parking lease before he read the actual document. He says he’s worried the private companies that assume control will take advantage of a clause that allows them to double parking rates twice each year.

Link to WITF.

Link to audio file.


Patriot News: Lease company promises not to expand parking meters in Harrisburg

June 10, 2008

The Patriot News reports:

The company seeking to lease 8,500 public parking spaces in Harrisburg has no plans to enforce street meters after hours or on the weekends, and it won’t push to expand meters into residential sections of the city.

Jacob Frydman, principal of the New York company seeking the 75-year lease, made the pledge after the prospect of plugging meters around the clock and of meters popping up on residential streets rallied some city residents against the $215 million deal.

“For the record, there is no plan to increase the number of meters or to expand the hours of operation of the meters,” Frydman said this week. “Anyone saying otherwise is simply misinformed.”

And later in the article:

Frydman said the contract clause is necessary because the lease must be a forward-looking document that will cover the next 75 years. He said the face of the city could change dramatically in that period and the contract language would allow the company to request additional meters as the city’s central business district expands.

“Certainly, Harrisburg didn’t look like it does today 75 years ago,” Frydman said. “As the community changes, there may be a time in the next 75 years when the central business district grows and there may be a request to expand the meters. It is not our intent to expand meters into residential or non-business areas.”

Link to The Patriot News

Central Penn Business Journal: Parking union: We were lied to

June 6, 2008

Central Penn Business Journal reports:

The partners who want to lease Harrisburg’s parking garages made a forceful case in a three-and-a-half-hour meeting with the City Council last night, but the immediate decision makers were not sitting in front of them.

Those decision makers are the members of the Harrisburg Parking Authority union, which can block the $215 million deal under the terms of its contract. Union members occupied the left flank of the hearing room and reiterated their passionate opposition to the lease.

“The HPA employees feel like they’ve been lied to from the beginning of this whole thing,” union leader Gail Lewis told the council.

Employees said they were promised repeatedly that they would remain employed by the authority, but the deal now on the table would put them on the payroll of the leasing partnership. Lewis also said Jacob A. Frydman, a leader of the leasing partnership, originally said he would not fight if the union decided against the deal.

Link to Central Penn Business Journal

WGAL: Mayor Reed, Union At Odds Over Parking Garage Lease

June 5, 2008

WGAL reports:

“It would be incorrect to tell you people should expect no rate increases, but we’re suggesting maybe we’d raise rates a dollar a day, a dollar an hour and possibly 15% or so on monthly parking,” said Jacob Frydman, a proponent of the lease deal. “That’s certainly not unreasonable.”

If the union opposes this deal, the deal – and everything Reed promised with it – will die.

And because of a clause in the contract, the city would owe the parking company up to $2 million dollars for not going through with the deal.

The first of three public hearings was held Thursday night.

The next public hearing will be June 19th with the final hearing June 30th.

Link to WGAL.

Patriot News: Parking rate hikes would come with city lease deal

June 5, 2008

The Patriot News reports:

Motorists who park in Harrisburg’s public garages would face a $1 increase in the daily and rates if a private company is successful in leasing the facilities.

Those who pay monthly rates for garage parking would see a $15 to $20 increase if the lease deal closes as proposed by Oct. 15.

Jacob Frydman, principal of the New York company seeking the lease, defended the parking fee increases as “fair and competitive” in lay out his $215 million lease offer before City Council tonight.

Harrisburg’s current public parking rates are $120 monthly, $18 daily, $3 for first 2 hours in garages, and 25 cents for 10 minutes at meters.

Under the lease agreement, the lease company would have the right to double city parking rates twice a year. But Frydman called the contract clause a “legal technicality, not a practical reality.”

“In reality, rates are really controlled by the market,” he said.

Link to the Patriot News.

Patriot News: Harrisburg Council will discuss parking lease

June 4, 2008

The Patriot News reports:

Is the $215 million offer to lease 8,500 public parking spaces in Harrisburg for 75 years fair? Which law firms and consultants would make money off of the deal? Is it even legal to turn over enforcement of street meters to a private company?

These questions and others will be posed as Harrisburg City Council begins scrutinizing the proposed lease of city parking facilities at the first in a series of public hearings.

Link to The Patriot News.

Central Penn Business Journal: Parking partners hit impasse with union

June 2, 2008

Central Penn Business Journal reports:

Members of Harrisburg’s parking union are not budging despite the latest round of wooing by a private partnership offering to lease the city’s parking facilities for $215 million.

It’s been more than two weeks since the partnership led by New York City-based real estate investor Jacob A. Frydman mailed individual letters to union employees that promised higher pay and job protections if the deal goes through.

“The members have gotten the letter. We have talked about the letter. They are not interested. And a lot of them just don’t want to talk about it anymore. They’ve made their decision. And that’s basically it,” said Gail Lewis, who leads the union.

The letter was sent after union members voted unanimously not to negotiate with the partnership, Harrisburg Public Parking. Many parking authority employees declined to talk last week when approached by reporters. A handful who did were adamantly opposed to the lease.

Garage attendant Paula Mills had this blistering message for Frydman:

“Get out of Harrisburg,” she said.

Attendant Charles Franklin Jr. had a similar view.

“No one wants this,” he said.

Link to Central Penn Business Journal.