Enhancing the vitality of the downtown is one of my top priorities as mayor and this week City Council took an important step that will help achieve this goal. At our meeting, council formally approved the purchase of the Arnon parking lot located directly beside City Hall. The property extends from Brock Street over to Princess Street and is the last piece of undeveloped property in the vicinity of City Hall and Market Square. While the parking lot will likely remain in its current form for the foreseeable future, there are some exciting opportunities for this prime downtown property going forward.
Personally, I think it’s critical to maintain an adequate supply of parking in the downtown so that visitors and residents alike can easily get to and from the great restaurants, shops and event venues we have. I also believe that we need new development in the downtown, both residential and office/commercial development. New development allows more people to work, live and play in the downtown, enhancing the vitality of the city core year round. It’s been another record year for tourism in Kingston and it’s been amazing to see the downtown bustling with activity. New development will ensure that our downtown stays busy long after the peak tourist season has ended.
That’s why the purchase is so exciting. I think there are opportunities for both expanded parking and new development on this property that will make our downtown that much stronger. To put a spin on the old Mark Twain quote: buy land around Market Square, they’re not making it anymore!