Parking garage open for business

On Monday, St. Marys residents and visitors will be able to begin utilizing the new parking garage, located on Depot Street in downtown St. Marys.The City of St. Marys is offering 30 days of free parking inside the two-story, 189-stall garage, which took approximately one year to complete.Although the garage is open, the Area Transportation Authority's (ATA) portion of the facility, located on the first level, remains unfinished. City of St. Marys Manager Dave Greene said they expect the ATA portion to open by the end of this year."It's going to be a little inconvenient for people because there will be construction vehicles around there," Greene said, noting that the construction will not impact entrance and exit areas in the garage.The garage will feature a pay-and-display machine where patrons receive a ticket upon entering the garage, then re-insert the ticket when leaving. The machine will then display how much the patron owes. Similar machines are used in downtown DuBois parking lots, as well as in State College. There will not be any gates installed inside the garage's two entries and exits located on each side of the building.A pay-by-space option is also available. Parking rates vary from $30 per month for 24-hour parking, which will likely be utilized by nearby residents of the Canadensis and Marienstadt apartments, to $10 per month for parking from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and a $1 daily rate.On the top deck of the garage, there are three separate exit areas. An elevator is housed inside the facility's lobby area, which is centrally located in the center of the garage, while separate stairwells are located in each corner of the building. The far right stairway will feature a large glass wall which will look out onto the park area situated behind the garage. Handicap stalls are located in the middle of the top deck adjacent to the lobby's elevator. There are also several stalls reserved for fuel-efficient vehicles on both decks.Several vending machines will be set up inside the garage's lobby area.An enforcement officer will patrol the garage. Additional security measures include video monitoring, in which the city will tie in their cameras with the ATA system.Builders are also continuing work on the garage's solar panels, which are part of the roofing system.