‘Green' garage set to open in downtown Bay St. Louis

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - By Al Showers – bio | email

BAY ST LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - If you've ever tried to find a parking space around the Hancock County Courthouse during an busy court day, you know getting a spot is next to impossible.

But the parking crunch in downtown Bay St. Louis about to be a thing of the past. A $3.2 million parking garage is scheduled to be complete in about two weeks.

"There have been a number of parking studies, most recently for the courthouse reconstruction, that show that downtown really needed more parking to serve the employees and the customers. And this will help get the employees off the street, leaving the street parking for customers," said project architect Allison Anderson. "We're very excited about that we hope to have it opened for Labor Day weekend traffic."

The 120 space parking garage going up on Court Street is also a unique, environmentally friendly structure.

"The landscaping will grow up the green screens and provide a living wall, a living screen wall, that cars will just become invisible behind. The greenery will help to counteract some of the emissions from the cars, as well as transform the carbon dioxide emissions into oxygen. And that's a great feature."

The method for watering that vegetation will also be green.

"The way that we're irrigating is to collect the rain water from the parking decks and move it into a 10,000 gallon underground tank. And then that water is pumped out and used for irrigation."

Sunlight will also play a key role in providing power to the parking facility.

"We have LED lights; very, very low energy use. And a 12 kilowatts solar panel system that will feed the lights and the elevator for the garage during the day time. It will also feed a battery backup for some night time use."

Anderson said it's basically a one of a kind structure.

"It's very unique for the South and for Mississippi and for the nation, as well. We need to be building buildings that are responsive to its environment and also responsible for future generations."

The new Hancock County Civic Center will go up on top of the parking garage, making it a three story structure. Construction bids will be taken on that project later this month.

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