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A spirit that is not afraid

City Council approves parking deck and changes to parking meters

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 $2,330,000, with bidding of the project's construction anticipated to take place in Jan. 2018 and construction of the deck to last approximately 12 months.

The parking deck is planned to provide an estimated 291 parking spaces, be five levels high and be approximately 60 ft. tall, allowing space for the construction of a potential additional level if desired without going against 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 Union as well as vehicular access to the parking deck will be solely from Wright Street.

Mayor Bill Ham thank Dunlap and City staff involved in the project and said "I think this is a great step for downtown."

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 as opposed to four, raise the meter rate to $1 an hour for surface parking lots and $1 for the first hour and $2 for the second hour for on street parking as opposed to $0.25 an hour and extend the operation of metered parking 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 games.

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.

"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.

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