ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – The City Council voted to approve an additional $58,874.70 Monday evening to revitalize Centertown Parking Garage in downtown Elmira. The money is an adjustment to the previously approved $1,290,000 for the project. The funds are coming from the New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative, which awarded the City of Elmira $10 million in 2019. The money is being used to address a variety of infrastructure issues to ensure the structural integrity of the garage, which was built in 1978. City officials say other improvements, like fixing broken elevators, will follow.

The resolution, sponsored by 2nd District Councilman Corey Cooke, reads as follows:

Receive communication from the City Manager and act on resolution approving the attached invoice from Crane-Hogan Structure Systems, Inc. for work performed on the Centertown Parking Garage of which $58,874.70 is in addition to the previously approved $1,290,000.00 for the Project, and of which $1,281,430.97 has already been spent; funds to be paid from “retainage release monies”.

“So as many people are aware we received $10 million in DRI funding a few years ago, which Centertown Parking Garage we did use some of those monies to do some upgrades to it,” said Elmira City Manager Michael Collins. “There was structure work that was done. There was panel work that was done on the exterior of the building, putting windows in the stairwells to make it feel safer. They also did LED light lighting on each of the levels of the parking garage itself.”

City Manager Collins says additional improvements are being planned at a later date, which will be paid for with a second round of DRI funding. 18 News reporter Nicolas Dubina spoke to people who park at the garage who said all three elevators were broken. Dubina also tried calling all 3 elevators, but they appeared to not be working.

“If you’re sharing with me that they are not working, I will follow up with our buildings and grounds director before I leave today, and let him know that the elevators are not working so they can come down and take a look at them immediately,” said City Manager Collins.

Other drivers pointed out that stairwells are covered in graffiti.

“You know, certainly we see an increase in homeless individuals using the stairwell. We do have no loitering there. Unfortunately, graffiti is found in the stairwell, graffiti is found in the viaducts throughout the City of Elmira. If we were able to catch an individual or individuals doing that, then they would be arrested for that.

“Are there are any plans to repaint the stairwells?” asked Dubina.

“I would say, in the next round of the DRI monies. I mean, absolutely. I think it would be extremely beneficial to have things painted and look fresh. But again, you know, it has to be kept that way. Unfortunately, you have individuals that that don’t keep it that way.”