The Wright Street Parking Deck is now officially open, bringing about 350 additional public parking spaces to downtown Auburn.
The deck, with an entrance/exit on Wright Street, will charge $1 per hour to park and operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The rate to park for a 24-hour period is capped at $15. The city manager also has the discretion to set day-rates for special events like home football gamedays.
The Wright Street Parking Deck won't have a time limit for its parking spaces, which will allow those wanting to spend more time downtown the ability to do so without moving their vehicles to another spot.
The two-hour limit will remain for on-street parking and in the Gay Street Parking Lot.
The Baptist Student Union will occupy the ground floor of the deck fronting Wright Street. Pedestrian entrances are located on both Wright Street and North College Street.
Downtown parking has been high on the list of priorities that are problematic and need to be addressed in Citizen Surveys dating back more than a decade.
With the addition of AuburnBank's parking deck and the Wright Street Parking Deck, Auburn residents now have an additional 1,350 public parking spaces available downtown.
The city held a free parking trial run at the deck over the last week that ends today to make sure the kiosks and credit card machines were working, said City Manager Megan McGowen Crouch at Tuesday's City Council meeting.
"Everything is functional," she said. "We had 270 cars parked there Friday night for the downtown event alone. So that shows how important that deck is, especially when we are moving forward with downtown events."
A sizable lawn area is now accessible for public use in front of the parking deck along North College Street.
"We have a nice, fluorescent grass out there that is artificial in nature, but it is meant to be very multipurpose in terms of storm events, people's pets, other things that go on downtown. It can be hosed off, sprayed off, blown off, whatever needs to happen," said Crouch. "Kids can run around and play and not be in the street, so I think it's very successful right now."