City council moves ahead with plans for new parking garage

The garage will cost approximately $9 million.
Mitch Richards of Keep Columbia Free spoke out against the Safety Cameras monitoring in real-time Monday night at the City Council Meeting. In campaigns, the cameras were supposed to be used as recording devices, not to be viewed live.

The city council made a motion to proceed with final plans for the construction of a new parking garage on Short Street in the North Village Arts District.

The garage will sit between Broadway and Walnut and go over the current location of Short Street, according to the proposal.

The council has been working on the garage for several months and now approved plans to go forward with the final design of the project at Monday night’s meeting.

The proposed garage will be six stories high and will have approximately 410 parking spaces.

The garage is being placed to facilitate future development in the North Village Arts District, according to the multiple contractors present at the meeting.

One of those developments is already in the works, which is a hotel that will be located very near the garage.

Mayor Bob McDavid said the project will cost the city approximately $9 million.

Within the project is a proposal to allocate 1 percent of that $9 million to a future Percent for Art project.

Cultural Affairs Commission Chairman Addison Myers recommended on behalf of the commission that they approve the project.

“The garage is the gateway to the arts district,” Myers said.

The council approved the proposal with the provision that they remain involved with the entire process so they know exactly what to expect from the project.

Following the project’s approval, Citizens Police Review Board member Susan Smith spoke regarding information collected at this year's National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement’s Annual Conference.

Smith wants the city to look at implementing an oversight program to their police force to ensure constitutional actions.

Smith said this oversight has greatly improved trust with the police department in cites such as Los Angeles and New Orleans.

Her proposal came at a time when the Columbia Police Department has come under scrutiny by the Citizens Police Review Board.

At the Aug. 1 meeting, CPRB and CPD submitted reports in which McDavid outlined seven discrepancies between the two.

The Police Officers Association came back with another analysis of their department, which was tabled to the next meeting for clarification.

McDavid said that he hopes the two boards will continue to work together with one goal in mind.

“We want a police department that has the respect and confidence of our citizens,” McDavid said.

Council also approved two new projects for the Columbia Regional Airport.

A taxiway will be rehabilitated and a wildlife deterrent fence will be installed.

Ninety-five percent of the costs for both projects are covered by federal grants and will together cost the city under $500,000.

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