The long-awaited 300-car capacity parking deck opened with a bang Oct. 1 as a red 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle convertible drove through and cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the facility.
Passengers in the convertible honored as “truly representing downtown Douglasville” by Mayor Harvey Persons, included Lula Mae Parker, longtime community activist Dot Padgett and downtown businessman Jack Tysor. They were driven by conference center representative Carlos Underwood.
Marcia Hampton, Douglasville director of community and downtown services, addressed the audience of about 100, commenting about the growth in the downtown area that has brought about the need for additional parking.
“For those who are saying, ‘I can’t believe we have a parking deck downtown,’” she stated, “Believe it.”
Persons told the crowd, “We’ve come a long way in the city of Douglasville.”
The city broke ground in October of last year, although the inception has been several years in the works, said the mayor.
He said the conference center, which adjoins the parking deck, is 80 to 85 percent complete, and the project for the entire project is “on time and on budget.”
“This a testament to the good work Hardin Construction is doing, and to our city council and city staff,” Persons said.
Alex Henry of Hardin Construction commented, “We are lucky to have worked with a great team of city representatives — Jeff Noles, Marcia Hampton and Bill Osborne — to get the project on time and within budget.”
Hardin shared a couple of what he called “fun facts” about the parking deck project, including the eight million pounds of concrete and 29 tractor-trailer loads brought in to complete the project.
The conference center itself is expected to open in mid-January.
Once opened, the 37,000-square-foot facility will house a ballroom that will seat 560 people, and three banquet rooms.
“We’re very excited for the parking deck to be open,” said Jennifer Bean, director of conference center operations. “We have a number of large events coming up.”
The crowd was able to sample a tasty spread from Carole Parks Catering, which is the exclusive caterer for the conference center.