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Lexington adds downtown parking

Lexington is ready to add parking downtown amid uncertainty it's needed.

The move is an attempt to assist a private meeting and convention center that may open in the 100 block of East Main Street.

Developers of the project say they need extra parking to make it happen.

But the complex is in limbo, delayed by financing problems in a tight economy.

Despite the doubts, town officials bought two tracts in the 200 block of North Church Street for $1.4 million.

The purchase came after another buyer for the site emerged.

"It would be gone if we didn't do it," Mayor Randy Halfacresaid. "And there isn't anything else on the horizon available for it."

Some Town Council members say the purchase is conditional.

"If the center falls through, we want to be able to put it on the market again," councilman Ted Stambolitis said. "We could use the money for other renovations."

Council members agreed to put the tracts up for sale in mid-2011 if the project doesn't materialize by then.

Making the 2.3-acre site usable for parking means Town Hall would spend $860,000 more to tear down buildings and pave it.

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