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Guest Opinion

Gerling botched New Hope garage issue and should resign


My comments relate to the guest opinion “New Hope Borough’s lost parking garage (Sept. 7).” The borough never got the $1.75M from the state grant.

What has really been lost is $600,000 to attorneys for an unnecessary lawsuit against Union Square and paid to THA Consulting.

A spokesperson from Union Square stated at the Aug. 15 meeting they’d been ready and willing to negotiate, not sue. Under the leadership of president Connie Gerling, New Hope pushed to sue and had to settle in March.

Union Square paid for Hardy Bush Way that leads into the unused 159-space parking lot owned by the borough. This parking lot was photographed every weekend around 2 p.m. from Aug. 7, 2021 to Sept. 18, 2021 and the photos were on display at the first public meeting on the garage.

By removing existing islands and radius at corners and expanding on the west end of the lot, it is estimated the total number of spaces could increase to 325. This is parking cars line to line. The borough also has additional land that on grade parking can be created.

The opinion writers’ assertion that businesses do not pay property tax is simply not true. Some businesses own their property and those that rent have taxes included in the rent. The borough also charges businesses for signs, business licenses and fire inspection fees.

The writers say there was a business plan for the garage. It was not turned over to the new garage committee. So where is this ongoing business plan? Show it.

Why did all three members resign from the parking committee without any reason? That motion was not on the agenda.

Why did the old committee not report anything from March to August 2023 — the five months following us being told the Union Square lawsuit had been settled?

What is really weakening businesses and tourism is the overcharging for parking and the hours the borough charges. I’ve also heard many complaints about the kiosk machines for parking.

The way Connie Gerling has taken on parking shows she does not have her hands on the wheel and further does not know how to delegate council members in resolving issues.

I ask for Connie Gerling to resign from council.

Joe Balderston lives in New Hope Borough and is a former councilman.

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