City seeks bids to fix entryway

A garage tunnel entryway into the downtown Jackson Street parking garage will receive additional upgrades.

The tunnel, an extension of Friendship Alley that creates a connection from Washington to Jackson streets, is being redesigned by Columbus architect Louis Joyner, who was hired by the city in March.

The Columbus Redevelopment Commission agreed to pay Joyner a $5,750 fee to design the proposed improvements that includes a louvered steel fence, 10 bike racks, painting, new LED lighting, drainage and curbs.

The color scheme included in the redesign will highlight a wall mural that was designed by Ivy Tech Community College students there in 2016, said Heather Pope, redevelopment director for the city. She said the city has received complaints about poor lighting in the area.

“For years, we’ve had people say that the garage feels unsafe,” Pope said.

Joyner, who attended Monday’s commission meeting, initially estimated the project would cost $127,393.56, but said he plans to seek bids in order to determine a more accurate cost.

Once those bids are received, Joyner said he plans on coming back to the redevelopment commission in December to seek approval to fund the project, which would be paid out of the city’s Jackson Street parking garage fund. If approved, the project is expected to begin in the spring, Joyner added.

Commission member George Dutro said after the meeting he supports the redesign, adding that he feels the tunnel feels uninviting.

“I think it’s a good use of money,” Dutro said. “It needs to look welcoming and safe.”

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com