Columbia holds ribbon cutting ceremony for new parking garage

Wednesday, July 22, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 8:17 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 22, 2009

COLUMBIA — Mayor Darwin Hindman said parking is an important part of a thriving downtown area during a ceremony Tuesday for a 10-level parking garage that's slated to be completed by fall 2010.

The parking garage, located at Fifth and Walnut streets, will have an underground area with 48 parking spaces for police. The structure will contain a total of 703 spaces, and it will also have approximately 13,000 square feet of mixed-use space that could be used for offices and retail.

The project will cost an estimated $15 million and will be funded by special obligation revenue improvement bonds. City manager Bill Watkins stressed during the ceremony that no general tax funds will be used, and the bonds will be repaid using revenue generated from parking permits in the new garage.

Transportation manager Ken Koopmans said construction will affect traffic and parking in the area. Fifth Street is now one-way between Walnut Street and Broadway, and parking will only be permitted on the west side of the street.

Hindman acknowledged the inconvenience construction might cause for some in the area but said "the future is going to be well worth it." Watkins also expressed his approval for the project.

"This is a big building that I think will meet most of our needs in the years to come," Watkins said.

The city originally planned to break ground on the project Tuesday, but rain forced the ceremony indoors. The ceremony was held inside the police station's garage, and instead of breaking ground, Hindman cut a ribbon held by two people in attendance.

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Ray Shapiro July 22, 2009 | 12:14 a.m.

("Mayor Darwin Hindman said parking is an important part of a thriving downtown area...")
I've never had any problem finding a relatively convenient parking space in the downtown area.
My guess is that there must be a greater plan to eventually eliminate most of the current on street parking downtown.
If that's not the case, CPD just received a plum.
("Hindman acknowledged the inconvenience construction might cause for some in the area...")
And what impact will that have on a "thriving" downtown?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz July 22, 2009 | 12:29 a.m.

Amen Ray, the only time I have seen the garages full was during Twilight Festival, Roots 'n Blues, Earth Day to some degree, and similar events. If I wanted (or was forced) to park a couple blocks farther away, I could always find a spot on the street and spend a few minutes hoofing it. When I go to lunch downtown, I am almost always able to find a spot on the lowest level of hourly parking in the garage across from the courthouse.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr July 22, 2009 | 4:02 a.m.

Are they serving up Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce or Stick Pig with that new Pork they are growing downtown?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking July 22, 2009 | 8:38 a.m.

OK, so we're building a new city hall, so the city departments that now lease space all over downtown can vacate that space. We're also building even more retail (as well as a parking garage justified by a study done well before the onset of volatile oil prices) so there can be even more empty commercial and storefront downtown, and around it. Where does the revenue come from to pay off the bonds for this structure if the expected parking need, or retail demand, does not materialize?

You guessed it...


(Report Comment)

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