AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - After more than a year under construction, the new downtown parking garage is officially open.
"I'm inspired and I'm extremely grateful for the people in our city who have been working on this plan and this vision and the implementation of it for many, many years," said Mayor Ginger Nelson.
The new garage will be able to accommodate any visitor to downtown area.
The garage will also create convenient parking spots for when MPEV gets ready to play ball in the Spring of 2019.
The new parking garage started as one simple idea that eventually grew in to a much grand scheme.
In order to revitalize the downtown area a series of projects was created to act as a catalyst.
"I think the growth of downtown and the destinations of things to come down and do here are exciting, and I think people will embrace the fact that will incorporate some changes like paid parking in order to offer those quality of life things in our city," said Mayor Nelson.
The parking garage and surrounding shops are just one project catalyst. More than 750 parking spots will be available in the garage.
The charge for parking in the garage is an affordable $2 for two hours of parking, or $7 for a whole day, making it cost effective for drivers.
"The city had to create an ordinance for parking and so it's two dollars an hour, for a maximum of seven dollars for the day's parking," said Director of Facilities Jerry Danforth. "The hotel utilizes it quite often, and a lot of the events at the Civic Center use it. Basically, you come in and pull a ticket. When you leave the facility you scan your ticket, insert your credit card, and you're in and out."
The new garage is a benefit to the city's cash flow as well. Any revenue taken in from the garage goes directly back to the city. That income, in turn, helps pay for maintenance and up-keep.
"It matters because it is an indication that we are planning for growth in Amarillo. Instead of responding to a problem, we're actually out in front of it and steering it, and that's exciting to me," said Mayor Nelson.
The new garage and overall downtown plan took a lot of preparation, planning and construction to complete.
Construction crews brought in dozens of pre-cast concrete in order to minimize delays during winter.
Planning also included the surrounding roads. Due to a city ordinance, both 7th and 8th Avenues were converted to two-way streets.
The change in direction allowed for a better traffic flow in and out of the garage.