The Waitsfield Select Board is working with the board of directors of the Mad River Valley Health Center on an agreement that would allow the medical center to use up to three parking spaces at the General Wait House on weekdays.
The select board, at its April 8 meeting, reviewed a draft agreement between the town and health center board that spells out the details of the plan. Board members also learned from town administrator Trevor Lashua that the tenants of the Wait House were not enthusiastic about losing three of that property’s limited parking spaces.
NOT A NEW PROBLEM
The lack of parking at the health center is not a new problem. Since the facility was constructed circa 2005, parking has been at a premium. Prior to being rebuilt the medical facility was a single-story ranch building with one medical provider. It is now a two-story building with a larger health care practice on the first floor and three additional tenants on the second floor.
In 2008, Central Vermont Medical Center purchased the medical practice on the first floor and that practice has subsequently become a partner in the University of Vermont Health Network. The medical practice occupies about 60 percent of the building.
Shortly after the building reopened following renovations, the lack of parking led to the medical center board seeking permission from the town of Waitsfield for limited seasonal parking along Old County Road. A few years after that the medical center negotiated an agreement with Ed Read, owner of the former Mad River Garden Center, now Mad River Property Management and Vee’s Flowers, to lease space for a second parking lot west of the first one, board chair Tom Emory explained.
Emory said that there are approximately 15 spaces in the original lot and another nine spaces in the lot leased from Ed Read.
“We’re looking for ways to try and help when we’re at peak load. A lot of times, our available parking is plenty, but sometimes it gets full. We approached the town to see if we could get some relief and came up with this draft proposal,” Emory said.
“The feedback we got after the select board met this week was that the tenants at the Wait House have the same problem that we do. Most of the time their parking lot is fine, and then other times it is full,” he added.
“There were some requests for more information from us,” Emory added, noting that there are not a lot of choices for the health center.
“Another option for us is to go back to Ed Read and see if we can expand there,” he said.