The Auburn City Council unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions to construct a new parking deck to be located at 135 North College St. as well as changes to city parking meters at their meeting on Tuesday.
Details of the memorandum were presented to the Council by Economic Development Director Phillip Dunlap, who said that the acquisition cost of the property will cost the city $2.33 million with bidding on the project's construction anticipated to take place in January 2018 and construction of the deck to last approximately a year.
The parking deck is planned to provide an estimated 291 parking spaces, be five levels high and be approximately 60 feet tall, allowing space for the construction of a potential additional level if desired without violating the city height ordinance in the urban core.
The Baptist Student Union will remain on the ground floor of the parking deck and will be provided 15 spaces for their use as part of the memorandum, while the entrance to the BSU as well as vehicular access to the parking deck will be solely from Wright Street.
Mayor Bill Ham thanked Dunlap and city staff involved in the project.
"I think this is a great step for downtown," he said.
The City Council also approved amendments to Auburn's city code concerning downtown parking meters that will go into effect Jan. 10, 2018.
The amendments will decrease all metered parking to a maximum of two hours from four, raise the meter rate to a dollar an hour for surface parking lots, a dollar for the first hour and $2 for the second hour for street parking from the current 25 cents an hour.
The hours of operation for metered parking will be extended to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, as opposed to the current 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday time period.
The amendments will also eliminate free parking during Auburn University breaks like spring break, graduation days and the Thanksgiving break with the exception of Thursday and Friday. Parking meters will remain unenforced on home football gamedays.
Jay Hovey, a member of the board of directors for the Auburn Chamber of Commerce, thanked the Council for its efforts to improve parking downtown.
"We encourage the City to continue to seek public and private opportunities to assist in future growth of the urban core parking options," Hovey said.
The mayor accepted his encouragement.
"I think I can say that the Council is unified in their efforts to improve downtown parking and, thus, the viability of our downtown businesses," Ham said.