Work begins at site of new parking garage
HAZARDOUS AREA Joe Little, with Jackson-based Environmental Management Plus, prepares to enter the old BankPlus building at 2303 Eighth St. during asbestos abatement work last week. Workers will continue the job this week, which includes pulling up floor tiles and other materials believed to contain asbestos. They must finish their work before crews can demolish the old BankPlus building and other nearby buildings making room for a new, $7 million downtown parking garage. PHOTO BY PAULA MERRITT / THE MERIDIAN STAR
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
May 26, 2003
Contractors have moved an office trailer across the street from City Hall a sign that construction is about to begin on the new $7 million downtown parking garage.
Maureen Lofton, the city's assistant for governmental affairs, said asbestos abatement work is underway and should be finished in the coming weeks. The demolition of several buildings, including the old BankPlus building, will then begin.
Once demolition work is complete, the foundation for the 400-car garage will be poured at the corner of 23rd Avenue and Eighth Street.
News of the work comes about a year after city officials unveiled plans for the garage which they view as a key piece of the Riley Education and Performing Arts Center and downtown revitalization.
Renovations already are under way at the Grand Opera House and Marks-Rothenberg Building.
At the site of the parking garage last week, workers from Jackson-based Environmental Management Plus began removing asbestos from the old BankPlus and surrounding buildings.
Martha McGruder, a supervisor with Environmental Management Plus, said she expects her crews to finish the asbestos work this week.
The old BankPlus building and others at the parking lot site have been sealed with plastic while McGruder's workers pull up floor tiles and other materials containing asbestos.
Work began last week, about a month after Meridian city councilmen voted to hire Mobile, Ala.-based Rod Cooke Construction Inc. to build the garage.
Once actual construction begins, the five-floor, 400-car garage is expected to be complete within 14 months. Lofton said the new garage will be a great addition to downtown Meridian.