The new city parking deck, adjoining the Douglasville Downtown Conference Center currently under construction, opens Oct. 1 at 11 a.m. with a ribbon cutting, according to Marsha Hampton, community and downtown services director.
“The parking deck will be a great addition to our downtown,” said Hampton. “Not only will it give the downtown back 120 lost parking spaces from the construction, but it will add an additional 180 spaces by accommodating 300 cars.”
This completion of the parking deck project paves the way for the January 2013 opening of the new Conference Center which is 55 percent complete, Hampton said.
“By the end of September or mid-October the exterior facade will be complete,” she said.
Hampton said the framing of the new center’s clock tower and pouring of a sidewalk will begin next week and the inside of the ballroom is covered in drywall.
The $14 million construction project is on schedule, according to Jennifer Bean, director of conference center operations, and is opening none too soon.
“Calls are coming in for weddings, meetings, birthday parties,” she said. “We are looking into two- to three-day conferences, church meetings, proms and the wedding market from all over the West Georgia area, Metro Atlanta and from Alabama.”
The construction project is funded from local hotel-motel tax, rental car excise tax and conference center rental fees, she explained.
Although the additional revenue through tourism has not been projected for the city, a positive economic impact is expected, Bean said.
“This will bring more people into our hotels,” she said, “and into the downtown area, to shops and restaurants and to buy gas. Weddings bring in a lot of people from out of town.”
The new 37,000-square-foot conference center offers a 7,600-square-foot ballroom that will accommodate 560 people. The ballroom space can be divided into five separate rooms. The conference center will have an auditorium that will seat 150 people and a board room, according to Bean.
The current conference center will continue to stay open, said Bean, “giving the city a lot of options.”
The conference center director said that people will have a choice of each of the facilities, which offer a different style, amenities and price point.
The current conference center offers 10,000 square feet including a 3,500-square-foot ballroom with separate meeting space.