The Harrison Avenue parking structure in Mineola is expected to be turned over to the village this month, three years after construction began, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Part of the LIRR Expansion Project, the garage has been constructed at the Mineola station west of Mineola Boulevard between Harrison Avenue and First Street and replaces a surface-level parking area. The five-level, 551-space garage represents a net increase of 446 parking spaces serving the Mineola station.
The parking garage is one of two being built in conjunction with the Long Island Rail Road’s project, which is adding a third track on the Main Line between Floral Park and Hicksville.
The parking garage is being turned over to the village long after it was completed, according to the MTA.
Reasons for the delay include approvals and paperwork to be completed, according to MTA spokesperson Aaron Donovan.
In a statement to Blank Slate Media, Donovan said, “MTA Construction & Development was responsible for the construction of the Mineola-Harrison Avenue parking garage, which was completed in November of 2020, but the Village of Mineola will be operating the garage. As of now, all necessary building paperwork, building code approvals, and protocols, including certificate of occupancy, are in the process of being completed, which is handled by the Village of Mineola. Once those approvals are complete, the parking garage will be officially ready to be open, hopefully this month.”
Donovan also said that while MTA Construction and Development built the garage, the village will operate it.
Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss said that he doesn’t want to take control of the garage until everything is sorted on the development side. He likened it to paying a contractor before the job is done and said he believes if potential issues arise after taking control, the contractors won’t be able to return in a timely manner.
Strauss said in a statement to Blank Slate Media, “The garage still hasn’t been turned over to us. It was originally supposed to be ours in July of 2020. 3TC and the MTA/LIRR claim they are almost finished clearing up the issues with the structure. They claim it should now be just a matter of weeks.”
The mayor said that village staff members have begun training for programs that handle both use and payment. Strauss, at a Mineola Chamber of Commerce meeting in September, said that he has not budgeted for any potential revenue from the parking structure.
Speaking about a bevy of issues during a state of the village address, Strauss said, “Thank God we didn’t budget for any of the incoming revenue we were supposed to get … I can’t budget for something I don’t have, and I’m thankful we didn’t because we would have had a shortfall.”
At the September meeting, Strauss reiterated that the new expected completion time he was told was October, which has now been updated to November.
Travis Brennan, a spokesman for the MTA, updated trustees this summer on the concluding steps of the ongoing LIRR’s expansion project.
After Trustee Paul Cusato asked when the garage would be open to the public, Brennan said the MTA was at the finish line, but he could not give the village an exact date.
“There’ve been some challenges to be perfectly blunt,” Brennan said in June. “We have very few items left to complete on that punch list.”
Even so, Deputy Mayor Paul Pereira said he was confident the parking garage project is at the finish line, saying “sometimes the last mile is the hardest mile.”