Editorial: Downtown parking garages are being abandoned and are headed for extinction

Above: Abandoned city parking garage in Meridian, Mississippi.

According to city planners nationwide, downtown parking garages are headed for extinction in cities and towns all over our fair land, to be replaced by ride-hailing services, autonomous cars, golf carts, and conversion of existing garages and planned garages into indoor tennis courts, apartments, etc. Here are articles that explain this trend:

Beaufort already has street people camping overnight in our downtown waterfront park. Will an abandoned parking garage be next?

What’s the Future of Parking Garages?
https://www.kittelson.com/ideas/whats-the-future-of-parking-garages/

Why Downtown Parking Garages May Be Headed for Extinction
https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2017/12/12/why-downtown-parking-garages-may-be-headed-for-extinction

The city of Meridian, Mississippi, is the poster child for what is happening to downtown parking garages. “The [450-car] parking garage in downtown Meridian was supposed to enhance and improve the arts district when it opened in 2005, but the multi-million dollar, city-owned garage sits empty and is now a dumping ground for abandoned vehicles” according to the following article and its accompanying video:<!–more–>

Abandoned Cars at Meridian’s Parking Garage
https://www.wtok.com/2020/09/17/abandoned-cars-at-meridians-parking-garage/

So we ask:

  • Why are our new Mayor and the other members of Beaufort’s City Council continuing to champion a 436-car parking garage in the historic downtown commercial district?
  • Have our City fathers and the staff complied with our City Code, which requires zoning variances that have apparently never been sought nor issued, for the parking garage and the associated 72-room convention hotel?
  • How could the developer of this parking garage, the convention hotel, and an associated large apartment building claim in good faith in his recent Zoom infomercial, unchallenged by our City’s staff and City Council, that these planned structures are “consistent” with the downtown historic commercial district?

Editor’s comment:

If you are concerned about the direction the City of Beaufort is taking, especially in its Historic District, you are automatically a member of the Beautiful Beaufort Alliance, sponsored by The Beaufort Tribune. Click here to see the goals of the Beautiful Beaufort Alliance and what you can do to help.