Area residents traveling along Depot Street in recent months have been able to witness the beginning phases of construction of what will soon be a two-floor, 191-stall parking garage.
Construction of the garage, which is expected to help alleviate parking issues in downtown St. Marys, began in September and the city's portion of the project is scheduled to be completed in July.
According to city manager Dave Greene, so far there have not been any major construction delays due to the winter weather, and crews are currently working on the facility's lobby and stair masonry.
Greene explained that the original plans for the garage were cut from 321 parking stalls to 191, due to costs being higher than anticipated.
"We tried to generate some additional revenue to try to put the extra floor on, but we couldn't do it, so we felt we needed to go ahead and get something under construction," Greene said.
He added that while the building will only have two floors, the foundation is built to be able to hold four floors, and so additional floors can be added if funding becomes available.
Even though the project needed to be scaled back, Greene indicated that he believes 191 parking stalls will be enough to help combat the shortage of parking in that area of town.
"We had 180 originally [in the Depot Street parking lot] before we built [the Canadensis and Marienstadt buildings]. Our original plan was to [build a 321-stall parking garage] and eliminate those 45 stalls that are beside the Moose building, but those are going to stay now. They are not going away, so we'll have the 191 stalls there plus we'll have the 45 stalls beside the Moose," Greene said.
While the 45 parking stalls located in the lot by the Moose building will remain, the parking meters in those locations will all be set at a two-hour maximum once the garage is completed.
"It will primarily be for people shopping downtown or going to lunch and things," Greene said.
Long-term parking will be located solely in the parking garage and permits will be issued for individuals utilizing the facility for that purpose.