Last week, the city secured the final piece of land necessary to move forward and consider plans to build a parking garage behind The Galleria on Main Street, and while some motorists and business owners support the project, others are worried a garage would alter the look of downtown.

“[The lot] gets filled up so fast,” said University of Delaware senior Emily Schmidt. “I know I’ve had several times my friends and I have tried to park here and there’s no spots.

“I don’t think it’d block anyone’s views because there’s not much to see here anyways,” she added.

Some Kildare’s employees and Brew Ha Ha! staff, however, say they feel otherwise.

“That would block all the views on our back patio,” said Kildare’s hostess Sierra Pinkett. “No one wants to stare at a parking garage.”

“It’s going to be a big gaudy building,” she added. “That’s why us and Brew Ha Ha! have back patios, because of the views.”

Last week, council voted 5 to 2 to approve a land swap that gives the city ownership of a 13,000-square-foot portion of the parking lot behind the Galleria, including the exit and both entrances. The city currently leases the property from Exponential Development Group for use as part of its pay-to-park municipal lot.

In exchange, EDG will receive the city’s Lot 6, a 0.36-acre city-owned parcel located behind the University of Delaware Bookstore on Delaware Avenue that contains 33 metered parking spaces.

The swap paves the way for a potential parking garage by securing the final piece of land needed for the project, which has been discussed intermittently since 1998.

Planning Director Maureen Feeney Roser said last week she was “thrilled” about the land swap and would like to see a garage built within two years, although such a plan would require another vote by council.

Ricky Nietubicz, Downtown Newark Partnership administrator, said a parking garage would help expand the potential customer base for downtown shops and restaurants.

“The business community overwhelmingly seems to support it,” he said.

Brew Ha Ha! assistant manager and longtime Newark resident Dan Malusa said he disagrees.

He said he knows downtown parking is a problem, but doesn’t want a garage directly behind the coffee shop.

“I’m really worried about it blocking the view,” he said. “I just don’t want to look at a brick wall.”

Grotto Pizza assistant manager Alex Nichols, on the other hand, said he thinks the garage would help alleviate the strain parking puts on those looking to grab food or a drink at the Main Street bar and restaurant.

“It should be better for our customers and the employees that work in this shopping center and the area,” he said.

Charlene Bottjer of Elkton, Md., was eating a slice of pizza at Grotto’s on Tuesday but said she hardly makes the trip to downtown Newark because of the traffic, congestion and limited parking.

“I guess [a garage] would help,” she said. “You don’t see a lot of them around.”

Eduardo Cardenas, owner of Newark Deli and Bagel, which sits across the street from The Galleria, said Main Street businesses suffer when potential customers avoid the busy downtown area.

“They don’t come to Main Street because they can’t park,” he said. “It’s time for Newark to grow. It’s time for Newark to have some more parking.”

Jeff Chase, senior art director in UD’s Office of Communications and Marketing, was enjoying lunch at Peace-A-Pizza on Tuesday and said he would support garage behind The Galleria because of the proximity to campus.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the students made use of that to park for class because the city’s parking is so affordable,” he said.

Chase said a parking garage would create high-density parking and maximize the number of spaces per square-footage of the lot.

“I think it’s smart,” he said.

(4) comments


I won't weigh in on the pros and cons of the parking garage, but I do want to note that the garage will do nothing to alleviate the problems stemming from motor vehicle congestion. Driving in Newark is very unappetizing, and parking is the least of it. Newark should do everything possible to encourage people to travel to and around town by bus, bike and foot.

I mean no offense to one of the commentators below, especially since this person may have an injury or disability, but the aversion to dealing with our world and the desire to be hermetically sealed is part of what is causing us to choke on congestion, destroying our health and economic viability. Walking a few blocks in rain or snow will not cause you to melt, not unless you're the wicked witch. Promise. . . .


And when retail sales increases by 50% due to more ample parking store owners will be very happy !!!

---“That would block all the views on our back patio,” said Kildare’s hostess Sierra
Pinkett. “No one wants to stare at a parking garage.”---

And that's why Sierra is a hostess !!!


There were many residents that stood up at the City Council meeting to express concerns about building a parking garage in Newark and the future of Main Street. It seems that we continue to face the same issues because the City of Newark staff and the City Manager do not have the appropriate level of expertise to study the impact of development on the community as a whole. The Comprehensive Development Plan is poorly written and short-sighted. It illustrates that the City of Newark lacks the experienced staff to drive sustainable economic growth and sustainable land development. It seems that it is "business as usual" in Newark in which a handful of people get to decide the fate of our community on general whims instead of using the proper tools and data to plan for our future in Newark.


Where were the anit parking garage folks when the demolished many of the old historical buildings like the State Theater to build gaudy buildings like the Galleria? Oh they were not around then or did not care since they had a stake in these new buildings. There is absolutely nothing to look at ourside the decks of the businesses that are complaining other than more cars. Different if the view was of the river or a park.
The main reason I do not frequent Newark when college is in session , is having to park blocks away from where I want to go and then deal with rain, snow and whatever to get there… I am for the garage and I would imagine most of Newark is too…

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