Beaver Dam Looks To Turn Former Dry Cleaners Into Parking Lot

(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Plan Commission Tuesday approved the purchase of a downtown property for use as a parking lot. Pending approval by the common council, the former dry cleaner at 111 West Maple Avenue will be acquired for $86-thousand dollars. The money comes from the downtown revitalization funding borrowed earlier this year for multiple projects aimed at enhancing the downtown.

Mayor Becky Glewen says the parking lot would not only be an asset to the new community theatre building right next door but also the businesses along the north side of Front Street, which have a rear access and limited on-street parking.

Glewen says the property will only work as a parking lot because of underground contamination concerns. She says it would not be cost-effective for a private interest to purchase the property and invest in clean-up for redevelopment. However, a municipality can take ownership and “cap” the parcel by putting in an asphalt parking lot, avoiding contamination clean-up costs.

In addition to trees, landscaping and façade improvements, the demolition of a downtown building was identified by the mayor in her revitalization plan. The focus before now had been on acquiring a Front Street property with the intention of creating a walk-through to Maple Avenue and the new community theatre building. While that remains a goal, Glewen says efforts to acquire the former karate studio have recently fallen through.