MOULTRIE, Ga. — Moultrie citizens and merchants can look forward to more parking spaces over 2020 as the city starts the South Main Street parking lot improvements.

City officials and merchants met behind Sid’s Antiques and Gifts on Monday to break ground on the grassy space that will become the first phase of the improvements.

With excitement fixated toward the future, those with gold-painted shovels in-hand dug up a bit of dirt. Mayor Bill McIntosh stated his own excitement.

“This is in the center of our downtown, so we’re looking forward to getting this project underway,” he said.

The improvements won’t just add parking spaces, he said; they’ll be an enhancement of the area. Besides parking, curbing, lighting, gutter systems and painting will be improved.

Eight to 10 new parking spaces will be added the first phase, but by the end of the project, pedestrian walkways and better connectivity to downtown as a whole is expected. Later phases will include adding greenspace, which might cost some parking spaces, according to private landscaping architect Jonathan Vines.

“We’re adding some spaces, but we’re going to have to take some out to beautify the other areas,” Vines said.

Vines worked with City Engineer Greg Monfort to put together the schematics for the parking lot improvements wholly. He said they’re working on a “net/no loss” on the parking spaces.

Those used to parking in that area won’t have to worry about it being closed off entirely either. The improvements will be worked on section by section, McIntosh said.

“That’s one of the considerations — to not cause a problem for any of the merchants by closing this off,” he said. “It will inconvenience some people during the work, but it’s going to be worth it in the end.”

No date or official timeline for construction and finalization has been given, but McIntosh said the hope is to get it done as expeditiously as possible. He expects to have made good progress by March or April, noting that there may be hiccups along the way.

“Of course, there are some issues with electricity, electrical lines and infrastructure that might prolong it,” he said. “You know, unforeseen problems.”

A $262,419.48 bid was approved for this project on Dec. 17. It’s funded by SPLOST funds, private donations procured by the Downtown Merchants Association and Downtown Moultrie Tomorrow. 

Doors of Arkansas will be handling the landscaping and improvements.

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