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January 30, 2013

Lower courthouse parking deck under city control

MILLEDGEVILLE — The end of 2012 brought a Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) agreement between the City of Milledgeville and Baldwin County. The city signed over $897,000 estimated tax revenues to the county for the 10-year LOST contract life.

Numbers weren't the only action tossed into negotiations.

In return for the tax kick back, the city received control of the lower level courthouse parking deck concurrent with the LOST.

Councilman Phillip Joiner, District 4, said the lower deck was underutilized because of the paid parking aspect. The parking gate arms were removed by the city.

Joiner expects the added two-hour spaces will alleviate some parking issues.

“This is one of many steps that will certainly be part of the solution. I'm thrilled the city got it back in our negotiations because it will have an immediate impact once people realize they don't have to punch a ticket, and they can park for two hours,” Joiner said.

The city closed down the lower deck Friday for restriping and maintenance work. City manager Barry Jarrett said once light fixture replacements are complete the deck should reopen Thursday or Friday.

The Hancock Street entrance has been closed as well. Jarrett wants everyone to know entry and exit is currently available at the McIntosh Street entrance.

For now, Jarrett said restricting the Hancock corridor makes sense.

The city can still switch sides when needed for upcoming Streetscape Phase 3 construction or special events. 

“We wanted to eliminate that traffic down through there. We want to also be in a position that when we need to close either side we can do so,” Jarrett said. “I think the traffic flow can be better controlled entering and exiting from one direction.”

Milledgeville Police Chief Dray Swicord said public works proposed a walkway that would safely lead pedestrians from the deck out to Hancock to shop or eat.

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