Rolling out the red carpet: Parking garages are slated for inviting makeover

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 25, 2015

The city’s parking garages are set to get a much-needed makeover with a fresh coat of paint and better lighting.

On a recent trip to Washington Street, we noticed the downtown area is packed with cars and curbside parking spots were at a premium. As one car pulled away, it seemed like another was eagerly waiting to take its place.

“With all the new businesses and the growth of downtown, we’ve had so many new tourists and locals coming downtown, that our parking demand has increased,” Main Street program director Kim Hopkins said.

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The garages are of course a good supplement to Washington Street’s space limitations, however, on the same trip we took note of how poorly kept the garages, especially the ones on Mulberry Street, are.

Only a handful of cars were on three-story Mulberry lot that day, and we don’t blame drivers for wanting to skip out and wait for another parking space. The garage looked awfully uninviting and dark, even at midday. It wasn’t exactly the best Vicksburg had to offer in terms of first impressions.

“Right now a lot of the lights don’t work and the fixtures don’t work, and there is no wiring, or the wiring’s real old,” Jeff Richardson the city’s landscape architect said. “So we’re looking at upgrading, and have really good lighting on all the levels and make sure all the service and everything is proper and up to date because it was built in the early ’80s, late ’70s.”

Mirrors and cameras have already been ordered to increase security and aid drivers in the garage.

“We just need to get the lights up, and cameras up, and the mirrors, and that will help, and just try to make the parking garages more attractive and friendly,” Hopkins said.

We are looking forward to the day the garage is in tip-top shape, packed with cars of people wandering down Washington, waiting to get a table at a restaurant or shopping with our local merchants. It’s not here yet, but rolling out that Red Carpet to the South and giving visitors a safe, appealing environment is a good place to start.