Today’s ribbon cutting has officially opened the Fair Plaza Parking Garage at 208 South College Ave.
“The garage will be an integral part of the entry point into downtown,” said City Engineer Carter Delleney. “We are particularly pleased that the façade will be in keeping with the look, history and feel of our downtown.”
The garage’s exterior design incorporates architectural elements from the Blackstone Hotel, Tyler Commercial College, the clock tower from the historic Smith County Courthouse, and other former landmark buildings.
A statue of R.W. Fair, sculpted by Jim Day and Cherry Day, is located on the northeast corner of the garage to honor his donation of the land for the parking garage to the City of Tyler.
The old Smith County Courthouse clock faces, dating back to 1909, were donated by the Smith County Historical Society, and were refurbished thanks to generous donations.
The clocks were sent to Americlock in St. Louis Missouri where the most intact parts of the four original clocks were combined into the two complete clocks that can be seen in the parking garage. The broken glass was replaced with Lexan, while the inner workings were replaced with new digital clocks.
“For nearly half a century the citizens of Tyler set their watches by the courthouse clock,” said Facility Services Supervisor Gary Smith. “And now it will be available for their grandchildren to use when they come downtown too.”
Also donated from the Smith County Historical Society is the pendant light above the R.W. Fair Statue. The light, from 1909, originally hung from the second floor jury room above the judge’s desk of the old Smith County Courthouse.
An automated gate system will allow a driver to obtain a ticket upon entering the garage. The ticket is paid at an electronic kiosk before returning to the vehicle and the “paid” ticket is inserted upon exit. The new garage has 384 parking spaces, with both monthly leased parking and daily/hourly parking available.
“This first month of garage operations is a time for citizens to try it at no cost,” said Delleney. “Charges for using the parking garage will not commence until Sept. 2.”
After Sept. 2, charges to park in the garage will be:$1 per hour with a maximum of $5 per day;A $70 monthly non-reserved parking space;There is a discount for any single entity purchasing 25 spaces or more (these spots will be reserved);
After Sept. 2, the garage will operate Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., except on official City of Tyler holidays. Contact Anthony Emmel at (903) 531-1201 to purchase a parking space.
A new feature of the parking garage also includes a bus turnout lane for transit buses to pick up and drop off riders without impeding traffic on Broadway.
Walker Parking Consultants/Engineers, Inc. created the design for the parking structure. Butler Architectural Group and Ballard and Braughton Engineering are the local consulting firms that have teamed with Walker Parking to address architectural and civil components of the project. Of particular importance was the façade design.