Artwork Is Major Concern in New Garage

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council held a public hearing Monday night to discuss details about the construction of a new parking garage. The garage will be constructed at the corner of Short and Walnut Street near North Village Arts District in downtown Columbia.

The council heard from business owners and residents that stressed the importance of integrating art into the construction because of the location of the garage. The council voted unanimously to make the garage a Percent for Art project. It asked the commission dealing with the project to work closely with the council in choosing an artist. Council member Barbara Hoppe said Monday the council has been disappointed with artists' work in the past, but she is confident the commission will find an artist who will stay true to decided plans. 

Council member Fred Schmidt said the council is trying to learn from past mistakes and hopes to make this garage mesh well with the streetscape. There will an innovative design "that sort of breaks up the surface and makes it look like a row of brimstone buildings," Schmidt said.

The council voted to make the garage 410 spaces instead of the previously decided 340. Construction is set to begin in early spring and may last for nearly a year.