Work begins to expand parking lot

Photo by Ron Leir Expansion of Washington School lot began last week.
Photo by Ron Leir
Expansion of Washington School lot began last week.


Municipal and school workers began rebuilding a faculty parking lot next to Harrison’s Washington Middle School last week.

James Doran, director of personnel/human resources for the Harrison Board of Education, said: “We’re in the process of expanding our parking lot and moving [the adjoining] Shields Park to the high school.”

But this undertaking is all a prelude to an upcoming main event: proposed construction of a new school for younger children just across the street expected to rise on the site of a municipal parking lot.

The state Department of Education is in the process of reviewing conceptual blueprints for the new school, Doran said.

Doran, who also sits on the Town Council, said the district is “saving money” on the parking lot job by doing the work in-house, together with the town’s Department of Public Works through a shared-services agreement.

Last Thursday, earth-moving machines were uprooting much of the dirt and a basketball stanchion in the park section of the site which borders Patterson St. and Harrison Ave.

“The [park] gazebo was falling down anyway,” Doran said.

Kids in the neighborhood who want to play hoops can walk to a municipal playground on Sixth St. where there is a basketball court, he said.

Doran said the reconfigured lot, once completed, will continue to be used by school staff during the day and by residents for “overnight parking” from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

If and when the DOE signs off on plans for the new school, then school and town officials will likely be conferring about how to deal with the eventual shutting down of the municipal lot, Doran said.

To ease the anticipated crunch on curbside parking, Doran said the town may be looking at things like adjusting street cleaning hours to try and help residents who park on the street.

– Ron Leir 

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