| January 23, 2007 -
Mayor Bill Haslam and Mayor Mike Ragsdale announced that they have
developed a plan with the Public Building Authority that would reopen
a portion of the City/County Building Garage on nights and weekends.
The proposal presented to the Mayors by the Public Building Authority
would offer free parking for approximately 55 vehicles on the L3
Deck. The northernmost entrance off Hill Avenue and the southernmost
exit on to Hill Avenue would be open to the public from 6:00 PM
- 11:00 PM weeknights and all weekend until 10:00 PM Sunday. Parking
in this area would be free nights and weekends as it is in all city
and county garages.
"I commend the Public Building Authority for coming up with
an idea that provides access for our citizens without compromising
the safety of the public," said Mayor Mike Ragsdale.
"I feel good about this action because we can provide more
parking for those who want to visit the waterfront while still keeping
our citizens safe," said Mayor Bill Haslam.
Both mayors said that their first responsibility is the safety
of the citizens who visit the City/County Building and the employees
who work there, but added that they were looking for a creative
solution that would allow citizens to use the garage at certain
times to access the waterfront and other downtown venues.
Gates would be set up to prevent public entry into the main garage.
There would be one elevator at the west end of the building that
will go between L3 level and L5 level that gives citizens access
to the Vol Landing Bridge. Any other access would be limited to
those who have cards.
There will be a one-time capital cost of $70,000 that will be split
between the two governments, the county would pay $46,670 and the
city would pay $23,330. There will be no recurring costs for this
plan. It will take about 6-8 weeks for PBA to complete the necessary
work so that the garage can be opened.