Indiana Daily Student

Demolition and construction begin for widely debated Fourth Street garage

<p>Heavy machinery sits idle Sept. 5 next to the Fourth Street parking garage. The demolition of the existing garage is expected to take 90 days.</p>

Heavy machinery sits idle Sept. 5 next to the Fourth Street parking garage. The demolition of the existing garage is expected to take 90 days.

The Fourth Street garage has begun its construction, beginning the project that could take over a year to complete.

Department of Public Works director Adam Wason said the demolition will take 90 days, and the construction will take up to a year. 

Because the demolition will take place in a populated area, the city is taking a different approach. 

“The demolition isn’t going to be your typical implosion," Wason said. "It’ll be a surgical type procedure. We’re taking the garage apart piece by piece.”

The construction company is providing a covered walkway to ensure safety for people accessing the businesses behind the garage, such as the Back Door and Best Taste, Wason said. 

Although the city has taken precautions for safety, it doesn’t mean the businesses aren’t being affected. 

Firestone Complete Auto Care, a store located across the street from the parking garage, is experiencing the consequences of the large construction area. 

“It takes away a lot of parking," store supervisor Kyle Lannan said. "We’re already pretty restrained." 

While they’re short on spaces now, he said the extra parking will be nice for business. 

When the parking garage finished, it’ll provide multiple sustainable options, such as bike lockers, electric vehicle charging stations and solar panels. These features qualify the structure for a Parksmart certification, which recognizes environmentally friendly garages. 

The garage will contain space on the floor level for commercial retail too. Wason said they have not narrowed down the field of who will be in that space yet. 

Although the parking garage has the Parksmart certification, there is still a large portion of the community that was opposed to it being rebuilt, as many claimed that building it will encourage car usage and harm the environment. 

“This was a controversial project, " Wason said. "But it’ll be vital for the long-term sustainability of our town."

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