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Garage: Design 2 includes access from 24th Avenue

By Staff
Editor's note: This is one of three preliminary designs for a downtown parking garage unveiled to the public by Meridian city officials and architects last week. A $7 million, 500-space parking garage is a key element in renovation of the Grand Opera House and Marks-Rothenberg Building and development of the Riley Education and Performing Arts Center. The Meridian Star published the first design on Sunday and will publish the third on Tuesday.
By Chris Allen Baker/staff writer
Feb. 4, 2002
Motorists would enter a planned, $7 million parking garage on 24th or 23rd avenues in what architects call "design scheme two" of three being considered for downtown Meridian.
Two of the designs feature a rectangular garage and retain the old BellSouth building. The third features an L-shaped garage that would eliminate the old BellSouth building.
The garage will be built on the city block between Seventh and Eighth streets and 24th and 23rd avenues.
Dale and Associates Architects Inc. of Jackson, the firm contracted to supervise the garage construction, met with city officials and the public last week to unveil the designs and receive input.
Garage entrance
The second parking garage design would have a primary entrance and exit off 24th Avenue. Motorists, however, also could exit and enter the structure from 23rd Avenue.
The rectangular design would provide more ground-level parking than the similar first design.
The second design would include about 90 spaces on each of five levels and about 45 spaces on a half level. Motorists would park in spaces nine feet wide at 90 degree angles.
The design would require relocating fuel storage tanks currently on the site. It would maintain access to the new BellSouth building and allow the possibility of retail space on the ground level.
A courtyard between the garage and the old BellSouth building also would be included featuring landscaping and pedestrian access to the garage.
Elevator towers
The garage would include glass-backed stair and elevator towers on 23rd Avenue facing the courtyard and on Eighth Street across from the Temple Theater.
All three garage designs could include elevated skywalks from the second level to the Threefoot Building and from the Threefoot Building to the future Marks-Rothenberg Conference Center.
The skywalks are not included in the project but could be added if desired, said Ron Hartley, the senior project manager of Dale and Associates.
Meridian leaders are to choose a garage design in the next few weeks. Construction is expected to begin this fall and could take eight to 12 months to complete.
Maureen Lofton, assistant for governmental affairs for the city of Meridian, said last week that all plans include demolition of the old Royal Theater, Troy Building, Jack's Sandwich Shop and Lawrence's Jewelers.

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