Auburn negotiates to purchase Auburn Baptist Student Center for parking deck

(Source: Brandon Etheredge/WTVM)
(Source: Brandon Etheredge/WTVM)
(Source: Brandon Etheredge/WTVM)
(Source: Brandon Etheredge/WTVM)
(Source: Brandon Etheredge/WTVM)
(Source: Brandon Etheredge/WTVM)

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - The city of Auburn is one step closer to a solution for what many call a downtown parking nightmare.

Auburn City Manager Jim Buston says the city is in negotiations with the Alabama Baptist Convention to purchase the Auburn Baptist Student Center property on College Street to build a new 200 to 300 space parking deck for public use.

The project, however, will not require the Baptist Student center to leave the location in downtown Auburn.

Instead, the center would be included into the first floor of the new deck with an entrance on Wright Street.

The entrance to the parking deck for drivers will also be on Wright Street with a pedestrian entrance on College Street.

The College Street side of the deck will also feature a passive park.  While the city is optimistic about the plan, it is not final yet.

The Baptist Student Center's Board will meet in August to approve the plan. If the plan receives approval at that meeting it must be approved by the Alabama Baptist Convention in November.

Buston says that if the plan received approval, construction can begin as early as December.

The potential deck is only part of a holistic solution for parking in downtown Auburn. The city recently purchased the property which was formerly home to the Carolyn apartments to create approximately 90 parking spaces on E. Glen Ave.

The city is also working on a partnership with Auburn Bank to provide parking for city employees as well as those who work at downtown businesses. In total the city could see an additional 500 to 600 parking spaces in the downtown area, essentially doubling the number space is currently available.

The downtown parking plan also includes potentially raising the cost of metered parking from 25 cents an hour to a dollar an hour.

City officials say the goal of the increase is not to make money but rather to encourage turn over of parking spaces allowing more people to access local businesses.

The city is also continuing to partner with Auburn University to look for ways to improve parking issues.

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