The idea of installing fencing and window panels to prevent people from jumping off the parking garage at Fifth and Walnut streets will be the subject of a public hearing at the Columbia City Council's Oct. 5 meeting. 

At least seven people have died by suicide by jumping from the garage, according to previous Missourian reporting, and others have been talked down by police before doing the same. 

Recognizing the problem, the city hired Walker Consultants in February to study alternatives. The fiscal 2020 budget included $300,000 to install fencing at the top of the garage and window panels on lower floors. 

While COVID-19 initially delayed attempts to gauge local reactions to conceptual renderings of the proposals, a virtual meeting where people could see the fence and panel designs was held Aug. 17-31. All but one of 40 commenters supported doing the work. 

The city also plans to place signs in the garage's elevator and stairwells offering hotline assistance to those considering harming themselves. 

The project would be funded by the city's Parking Utility. Construction is expected this fall and winter. 

  • Public Life reporter, fall 2020 Studying public policy journalism Reach me at aaron.senk@mail.missouri.edu or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

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