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Council to vote on parking garage

By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
Aug. 7, 2001
The Meridian City Council was expected to vote today on who will design a new $7 million parking garage to be built downtown.
The 500-car garage is the city's contribution to the renovation of The Grand Opera House of Mississippi and the development of a downtown facility to be called the Riley Education and Performing Arts Center.
The center is scheduled to open in 2003.
A six-person committee of city officials was expected to recommend Dale and Associates, a Jackson firm, to design the structure.
Maureen Lofton, assistant for governmental affairs, chaired the committee. Lofton said the group researched what makes parking garages successful before asking firms to submit proposals. With three failed, city-owned parking garages dotting the skyline of Meridian now, Lofton said the group tried to examine all factors.
Local resident David Stokes' father, the late J.B. Stokes, worked as a manager for the old city garages during the 1960s and 1970s.
Stokes said the old garages have gotten a bad name over the years, but worked fine most of the time. Problems could arise, however, if the elevators used to move cars from ground level to upper floors stopped working.
The new garage is expected to have ramps.
Stokes said the combination of downtown revitalization projects and modern garages should be successful.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3226, or e-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.