Safety enhancements for the city's Fifth and Walnut parking garage are set to begin in mid-January, Public Works Public Information Specialist John Ogan said.

Fencing for the project is expected to ship from the manufacturer Dec. 29, putting its arrival in Columbia around early January, he added.

The contractor for the city is scheduled to start installing the fences after the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. However, plans may shift depending on the weather. 

Safety enhancements to the Fifth and Walnut parking structure have been in the works for over a year.

Since the parking structure opened in 2011, several people have taken their lives there, including an individual this fall

These events prompted City Council to take action in Oct. 2020 and move forward with providing enhanced security measures at the garage. 

The first phase includes an 8-foot fence along the perimeter of the ninth floor that curves inward at the top, in an effort to prevent people from climbing over.

The second phase involves covering all openings on the other upper levels with steel panels. The city has set aside $600,000 for the new safety measures, according to previous Missourian reporting.

The top two levels of the garage have been blocked off since Sept. 9 and are inaccessible on foot or by vehicle.

"There's plywood barricading the stairway," Ogan said. "I used a moderate amount of effort (trying to bypass the barrier) and there's no chance I could get any higher than floor seven."

Plywood also runs across the parking lot on the seventh floor, preventing vehicles from going to the upper levels.

  • General Assignment Reporter, Winter 2021-22 Studying journalism and sociology Contact me:, or in the newsroom at 573-882-5720

  • Fred Anklam manages city and county government reporters. He can be reached at or in the newsroom at 573-882-5720.

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