Limestone look proposed for city parking garage

Monday, November 5, 2012
An artist's rendering of the proposed city parking garage downtown shows both the entrance and exit off South Jackson Street.

The biggest single structural element of the City of Greencastle's $19 million Stellar Communities package may not be ready until spring 2014 but it has at least made its way onto the drawing board.

Artists' renderings of a two-story, 150-space public parking garage -- to be located downtown on property bordered by Jackson, Walnut and Indiana streets -- were unveiled during a public hearing at City Hall.

City officials and a handful of local residents got a clearer picture Thursday evening of how the structure will look and how it will fit into the fabric of the downtown.

"A parking structure for the first time in Greencastle," Mayor Sue Murray said in setting the stage. "Yea, here we go ..."

Project Architect Bill Browne of Ratio Architects, Indianapolis, joined Mayor Murray and grant administrator Kristy Jerrell of the West Central Indiana Economic Development District (WCIEDD) in unveiling drawings of a building with a limestone look and red brick-like accents that should co-exist nicely with the older, historic buildings in the area.

More modern-looking parking garage designs were previously dismissed as not fully fitting in by city officials who had seen them. Ratio returned with a new design for the first of two public hearings to be conducted on the project.

"It feels like a municipal building or a federal structure," Browne said. "And that feels appropriate," he added, noting the proximity of the fire station, post office and the Carnegie library building.

The approximate total cost of the parking structure is estimated at $3,580,250 with a grant of $3,280,250 coming through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority via the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

An artist's rendering of the proposed city parking garage shows the Indiana-Walnut street corner where the pedestrian access will have an elevator.

The city's local match of $300,000 will come from the Greencastle Redevelopment Commission.

The public structure will provide free parking for the downtown with vehicles entering and exiting only from the Jackson Street side of the garage.

The entrance is designed to be farther south on Walnut Street than the exit, Browne said, noting that traffic bottlenecks are more likely to occur at the entry to a parking garage than at the exit.

Pedestrian access to the garage will be via the northeast corner (with an interior elevator) and northwest corner (with stairs and a ramp).

Ratio is working on a design to allow access from the south side of the garage directly to the adjacent First Christian Church, possibly with a canopy included.

"Our charge," Browne said, "was to take the property at Indiana and Walnut streets over to Jackson and turn it into a parking garage for the City of Greencastle."

To do so will still require the acquisition of property, including the parking lot First Christian created on the former site of the Commercial Hotel, along with the small building on Indiana Street (just north of the alley) that houses the law offices of Darrell Felling. The other parcel is the former site of the Standard/Amoco gas station operated by Charlie Jenkins for many years at the southwest corner of Indiana and Walnut streets.

A series of window openings featuring terra cotta fins will help provide natural ventilation to the garage and allow natural light in as well.

Browne also assured the structure will be well lighted without many dark spots and designed so it will be easy to see inside the facility.

"We're always concerned about safety with any garage project," Browne said, pointing to an emphasis on lighting.

"We believe it's going to be quite a handsome building for the City of Greencastle," Browne said.

With final property acquisition and permitting processes still to come, Browne estimated the project going out for bids early in 2013.

Actual construction is expected to take 9-12 months for completion, he said, putting the opening date at January or spring 2014.

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  • Why exactly again does Greencastle need a parking structure? Talk about a waste of money. Also, if it is going to be FREE to park there how is the city going to pay for insurance on the building and upkeep? Might be nice to have an estimate on the yearly operating costs for this project after it is completed so that we can make an educated decision on if it is a good idea to do. But why would the mayor and city council want that, they're only interested in building shiny new buildings to make themselves look good.

    -- Posted by hometownboy on Mon, Nov 5, 2012, at 7:36 AM
  • How many parking spaces? Is the top open for parking? How many levels? It appears to be an attractive building and will probably enhance the use of the downtown area.

    -- Posted by gunner on Mon, Nov 5, 2012, at 8:59 AM
  • do we really need a parking garage of this magnitude just to park downtown and shop? Seems like an awful waste of money.

    -- Posted by Falcon9 on Mon, Nov 5, 2012, at 9:30 AM
  • Seems to me that DePauw will get a lot of good use of this !!

    -- Posted by Blue6 on Mon, Nov 5, 2012, at 9:50 AM
  • Oh pleease, we can't keep a homeless or humane society shelter going in this town due to lack of funds, but can afford to spend this kind of $$ on a parking facility! What are they thinking?! Are people that lazy they can't park and walk a few blocks to get downtown? Such a waste of time and money.

    -- Posted by jake71 on Mon, Nov 5, 2012, at 10:02 AM
  • When trying to find parking around the square it is almost impossible. I am not always going there just to shop, I need to go to the courthouse to conduct business. Parking has always been an issue with downtown. Many employees of the courthouse and the businesses park in the parking spaces that are available. Why would anyone complain about adding additional parking. You also have to look at the future of the traffic flow on 231. Eventually the parking spaces along 231 will be eliminated to allow for the traffic flow. When driving that route of 231 now is a large bottleneck effect for everyone. How does DePauw get any benefit out of a parking lot downtown? That is not even a factor in the decision of parking for downtown. I am all for the parking garage going in, and I am very glad they are looking at the design of how it will fit in to the area. I really like that it will be free. Who needs a cement and steel structure build in the downtown area that also would charge to use the facility. We don't need to be like Indianapolis. This is to help us not hurt us. As for paying expenses, I am sure our tax dollars will pay for that.

    -- Posted by chicken on Mon, Nov 5, 2012, at 10:21 AM
  • I really like the idea, but I miss the old Commercial Hotel. It was a stately looking building. I remember going to the 1st Christian church as a youngster and most of the kids would run over to the hotel to get candy. Alas, time marches on.

    -- Posted by donantonioelsabio on Mon, Nov 5, 2012, at 11:28 AM
  • I'm for the garage. It beats looking all over for a parking spot on the street, especially around the court house.

    -- Posted by interestedperson#1 on Mon, Nov 5, 2012, at 11:37 AM
  • I can't figure out why people just say, well the garage will be great for parking, however I just can't find one downtown because of all the courthouse employees. Do you really think the courthouse employees are going to park in the garage? YOU WILL. They will all still be too lazy to walk the two blocks, but you will have to park and walk the two blocks. Why doesn't someone hold this city accountable for employees taking up spots around the courthouse. Have you ever wondered that? "DePauw" will benefit. Look at how many homes (dorms) are located along Jackson St., perfect parking for students cars.

    -- Posted by putcocvb on Mon, Nov 5, 2012, at 1:14 PM
  • Long overdue......thank you many times over!!

    -- Posted by kubotafan on Mon, Nov 5, 2012, at 4:53 PM
  • Do you people read?!

    "The approximate total cost of the parking structure is estimated at $3,580,250 with a grant of $3,280,250 coming through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority via the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program."

    Let's break this down:

    $300,000 is our part of the bill for this.

    As of 2010 the population of Greencastle was: 10,326

    This next part MIGHT get difficult, so stay with me here.

    $300,000 / 10,326 = 29.05

    $29 per person is what this would cost. Now, I realize, maybe not every person in that 10,326 is an adult. Let's say 65% of the 10,326 are paying taxes.

    65% of 10,326 = 6712

    $300,000 / 6712 = 44.70

    $45 (rounded up) per person to pay for it. That's a tank of gas for most people.

    Hell, I'll go one more. Let's assume 50% of the 10,326 are of tax paying age.

    50% of 10,326 = 5163

    $300,000 / 5163 = 58.10

    Waste of money? What money? That's really nothing huge.

    Let's say, worst case scenario, it's $58.10. Say you are taxed for this over the course of a year. With bi-weekly pay checks, it comes out to $2.23 extra for one year.


    -- Posted by Mercidos on Tue, Nov 6, 2012, at 8:41 AM
  • So we design a parking garage to match the design of a historic downtown but in the process buy up and tear down a nice historic designed building.

    -- Posted by DJ on Tue, Nov 6, 2012, at 9:10 AM
  • Hooray!! Finally some forward thinking people in Greencastle are getting things done. Twenty-five years ago when I was in Prevos and we had some great businesses downtown it was said it(a parking garage) "couldn't be done". It's too late to save a former downtown shopping mecca, but hopefully rejuvenation is in view!! Joyce Hanlon

    -- Posted by jhanlon1 on Tue, Nov 6, 2012, at 10:36 AM
  • anxel,

    Do you think those grand dollars are just falling out of the sky? No, they are TAX dollars. So yes while your math is correct you neglect to account for the fact that ALL OF THE $3.6 million is from taxes. And to all of you people compaining about parking on the square suck it up and walk a couple of blocks if you have to.

    -- Posted by hometownboy on Tue, Nov 6, 2012, at 11:45 AM
  • If the people won't park a block away now and walk downtown to work or shop then why would they park in a garage a block away. I agree with earlier post, we can't fund humane society and several other things but find grants always to help DePauw any way we can.

    -- Posted by Coach_matt76 on Tue, Nov 6, 2012, at 12:18 PM
  • No more scraping snow/ice off MY windshield,mine will be parked in the garage...

    -- Posted by kubotafan on Tue, Nov 6, 2012, at 7:17 PM
  • Let's see, lets build a parking garage so we can then build a by-pass around downtown completely drying up traffic and commerce in the downtown area. Totally agree about the insanity of not being able to help the homeless and humane society but build this thing.

    -- Posted by Avenger1234 on Tue, Nov 6, 2012, at 7:29 PM
  • .. where do you think the homeless will be sleeping?

    -- Posted by Emmes on Thu, Nov 8, 2012, at 11:47 AM
  • Dear Emmes and everyone else in Putnam County. There shouldn't be anyone sleeping in the new parking garage. R U Kidding, WE DON'T HAVE HOMELESS PERSONS. Putnam County takes care of it's own, didn't you all know that? Ask the Mayor, County Council, City Council and Commissioners.

    -- Posted by putcocvb on Thu, Nov 8, 2012, at 1:18 PM
  • When we had a homeless shelter many people came from other areas other than Putnam county. I would to if I was homeless on the streets of Indianapolis. It is a county thing for humane society and homeless shelters not the city. These grants are for certain things or improvements. It is there to be used by the city and us. So use it or loose it. As for DePauw students parking in the garage who live in the dorms on Jackson street, they have ample parking behind the dorms. DePauw does not have a stake in this.

    -- Posted by chicken on Thu, Nov 8, 2012, at 1:52 PM
  • Now depauw is building a lacrosse field over a parking lot. The monon bell has always been a big deal, so the parking garage will always be full around this time of year.

    -- Posted by justanothervoice on Fri, Nov 9, 2012, at 1:11 AM
  • Well, now that is a good point! You are right on that account.

    -- Posted by chicken on Sat, Nov 10, 2012, at 2:14 PM
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