LEXINGTON, Ky. - A downtown Lexington parking structure formerly known as the Annex Garage reopened to the public on Monday after an eight month renovation.
The garage (now called the Helix Garage) on East Main Street features new energy-efficient lights, 48 tons of new steel, and more than 80 truckloads of concrete. Gone are the metal bars that supported the spiral exit ramp. Total cost of the project was $3.1 million.
Gary Means, Executive Director of the Lexington Parking Authority, says paying for parking has been streamlined.
“When you push a button a paper ticket doesn’t come out, which traditionally there’s problems with that jamming up or cutters not working correctly. It’s a plastic token that has an electronic chip embedded in it. So it tells the machine what time you came in and then you can walk to the pay-on-foot station and take care of your business and then exit.”
The reopening is welcome news to people who need to visit the Fayette County Clerk’s office or the police department.
Daytime parking rates haven’t changed, but Means says it will now cost $3 to park in the Helix on nights and weekends.
“Of course people love free parking and we understand that. But a part of having all this free parking, in particular here at the Helix Garage, is there were no funds to help keep it up. So in order to keep a good, healthy parking system we’ve got to generate revenue.”
Officials are working on implementing a reduced rate for motorists who validate their parking at downtown businesses such as the Kentucky Theatre.
Last week the parking authority signed a $6 million loan with U.S. Bank to help finance other renovation projects. Means says the new parking garage rates will allow the parking authority to pay that off within 5 to 7 years.