By Melos Ambaye  

McCrum’s Parking Lot in downtown Lexington is about to get a facelift—at least part of it. 

The city Public Works Department is asking city council to approve $100,000 to resurface an area that contains 36 of the lot’s 75 parking spaces.  

Patrick Madigan, director of Public Works, said city officials will ask individual property owners to kick in money to pay to repair the remaining 39 spots.  

McCrum’s Lot, located on South Jefferson Street, provides parking behind businesses like Southern Inn and Ladles & Linens.  

Farmers from across Rockbridge County sell their produce at the lot on Wednesdays.  

Nina Kauder, market manager of the Lexington Farmers’ Market, said the lot pavement is chipped and cracked and poses a danger to elderly customers.  

Kauder said the lot is more dangerous when it rains or snows. She said she cancelled a farmers’ market in January because she was worried that someone would fall and get hurt.  

Cracked pavement in McCrum’s Parking lot in Lexington, VA March 2024. Photo by Melos Ambaye

“I had to make a very difficult choice,” she said in an interview. “And that choice cost all of our farmers hundreds of dollars in revenue. But we didn’t see it as a choice at all. Because everyone’s safety was just at risk. It’s just way too risky.” 

Madigan said the city owns the center part of the lot. The privately owned spots are on the perimeter.  

He said it could only cost about $15,000 to repair the lot’s privately owned spaces because the city is already paying to bring in the expensive, heavy machinery to resurface the publicly owned spots.  

If the property owners decide not to contribute, Madigan said, city council will tell him how to proceed. “Pretty much the direction was if they don’t contribute, then we don’t pave it,” he said.   

Developer John Adamson owns several spots in the McCrum’s Lot. He owns the building that formerly housed Grand Home Furnishings and the Rockbridge Building. He said he will likely contribute to the project.  

“I think it makes sense to all work together on that situation,” he said in an interview. “I would think it would be very reasonable to assume that all stakeholders would get together to review the plan and participate accordingly.”  

Finance Director Jennifer Bell said city officials hope all the owners contribute.  

“If some didn’t contribute, it’ll leave the parking lot maybe not so aesthetically pleasing with only certain areas still in rough shape and the rest of it all nicely resurfaced,” she said in an interview. 

Madigan said the lot was last repaired in two stages. Half of the lot was resurfaced in 2004 and the rest in 2007. 

“If you had a grade from A to F, it’s sitting at about like a C minus or D,” he said. “The repairs will bring it up to an A or A minus. That adds about eight more years of life to the lot.”  

Madigan said the $100,000 budget for the project covers the cost for materials, milling and overlay of the asphalt.  

“You have to get in a pretty bulky piece of equipment,” he said. “Milling and overlaying will require pulling up about two to three inches of the asphalt and then laying down fresh asphalt on top, so it gives it a smoother ride.”  

The lot’s curbs and poles will not be removed. The renovation also will not change the slope of the lot.   

The project is part of next year’s proposed Capital Improvement Plan.  

Bell said funding for the McCrum’s Lot repairs will come from the city’s general fund. She said the city will not have to borrow any money for the project.  

City council will likely approve the $100,000 project in late April, Bell said.  

Madigan said the repairs will take one to two days in October or November. He said the city will schedule the repairs during a time that is least inconvenient to community members.  

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