Information previously unavailable to Lake and Main indicate the Town of Lexington now plans to included some public parking on land now owned by Lexington Masonic Lodge #152. But that has not changed the Masons’ resistance.
From plans to purchase the entire Lodge property, land and building, to provide parking for a proposed hotel, the Town’s latest design is buy the land surrounding the lodge and create approximate 65 paved parking spaces, about half of which would be public.
Some spaces, unconfirmed information suggests at least 20, would be leased by the Town to the hotel. The lease would run for 20 years, but there is skepticism that such an agreement would allow the Town to recoup the cost of the property.
The hotel property at 116 East Main will have some parking, but not enough to accommodate the 90-100 room facility, so more land is needed, thus the Town’s proposal to buy the Masonic property. A small parcel would also be acquired from an adjoining medical practice. According to a Masonic representative, talks to acquire that property led to a reference of acquisition through eminent domain. In fact, one Council Member has stated that when conversation about the Masonic property came up, it was Mayor Steve MacDougall who introduced the idea of eminent domain by saying “condemn it” in executive session. Other members of the Council witnessed that exchange. There are enough members of the Town Council (5 of 7) who have told Lake and Main that they will not approve such a drastic measure, effectively killing the condemnation. That is nit to day this Council will reject all acquisitions through eminent domain. At times, it is a necessary option and not all uses of it are contentious.
in the Masonjc cade, the Town’s idea to include 30-35 public parking spaces was actually made weeks ago, but it was not enough of a cocession to assuage the Lodge’s concerns. Not only do they believe the Town is low-balling the price of the land, the Masons would have to compete with the public for parking around their own building.
That is why the Lodge has rejected the Town’s offer.