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Designs unveiled for parking garage, slated for fall construction

By Staff
DOWNTOWN PARKING GARAGE Dennis Burns, an executive with Carl Walker Inc., presents proposed plans for the city's downtown parking garage. Burns outlined the proposals in a public meeting Tuesday at Union Station. Construction of the $7 million project is expected to begin this fall. Photo by Carisa McCain / The Meridian Star
By Chris Allen Baker/staff writer
Jan. 30, 2002
Construction is expected to begin this fall on a $7 million parking garage in downtown Meridian the city's contribution to the Riley Education and Performing Arts Center.
City council members now must choose one of three proposed designs for the garage that will be on the block bounded by Seventh and Eighth streets and 23rd and 24th avenues.
One proposal would raze most structures on the block, including the old BellSouth building; two other plans would save the BellSouth building. All were outlined at a public meeting Tuesday at Union Station.
Design 1: This rectangular garage would have 51/2 levels with 90 spaces on each level. It would have a courtyard between the garage and the old BellSouth building; access would be on 23rd Avenue.
Design 2: This garage would include the same features as the first proposal, except that access would be on 24th Avenue. It also would include more sloped parking levels.
Design 3. This garage would be L-shaped and would feature 41/2 levels with 138 spaces on each level. It would eliminate the BellSouth building; motorists could access it on 24th Avenue.
Dennis Burns, an executive with Carl Walker Inc., a parking garage engineering consultant from Arizona, presented the three designs to a sparse crowd of city officials and a few businessmen.
Stephen Allen, a project coordinator with Dale &Associates Architects of Jackson, said the downtown location was ideal because of its proximity to the historic areas and future development sites.
Archie Anderson, an executive vice president for Trustmark National Bank and one of the few business leaders who attended the meeting, said he liked what he saw and heard.