Auburn City Manager Jim Buston said he has been hard at work trying to find ways to make shopping downtown more convenient.
"The council for the last several years has understood that parking is an issue in downtown," Buston said. "Our citizen survey has shown that citizens want more parking downtown."
Not only does the current parking deck need some renovations, but the city is also looking to purchase property to build an additional parking deck too.
"We are looking at a 10-year cycle," Buston said. "We figure if we put in $150,000 to repair the deck as it is now, those repairs should last about ten years. And in about 10 years we will have to consider again, do we want to tear it down or repair it."
One property they have started to go after is the Baptist Student Union. This lot would be a prime parking location for shoppers in the downtown area.
"We understood that the Baptists were looking to maybe sell their property, but they needed to relocate somewhere," Buston said. "We approached them with a plan that we wanted to build a (parking) deck on their property but it's in the back of their property on the Wright Street side."
Instead of relocating the Baptist Student Union, the city would put them in the bottom of the parking deck, facing Wright Street instead of College Street, but the deal is not finalized yet.
"November would be the earliest we could start construction, assuming we got all the permissions," Buston said. "We anticipate that is what will happen. It will be a 250 plus car deck. We just have to wait on the design to see exactly how many spaces."
Construction should last around a full year to finish the new parking deck.
Purchasing this property is not just up to the city. The Baptist group will meet as a whole regionally and then nationally to decide if they want to sell this property to the city.
Buston is concerned with what the people want too. They have done many studies and surveys to try and figure out what the best course of actions should be.
"We are building a parking lot on Glenn, it's about two blocks from Toomer's corner maybe three, and we got a lot of push back from people saying well we can't use that to park because it is too far away," Buston said.
As the City Manager, Buston is also looking to the future and prediction the migration and expansion of the downtown area. He sees how restaurants like Acre and the depot still attract large numbers of people even though they are not directly in the College Street downtown area.
"As our town grows, the core (downtown) expands. We already see a little bit of that with the Depot and Acre coming down Glenn off Gay Street," Buston said.