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Jefferson breaks ground on parking lot expansion
The city of Jefferson plans to turn this dirt pile into parking space for the Civic Center on Kissam Street. Construction is set to begin in December. - photo by BRANDEE A. THOMAS

JEFFERSON — City of Jefferson officials have planned a special construction project for the civic center on Kissam Street.

Officials held a ground-breaking ceremony Monday for phase two of the civic center parking lot expansion project. The project is special because in addition to adding around 225 more parking spaces, the project will also be environmentally friendly. The first phase, which was recently completed, created around 85 parking spaces.

“The entire (addition) will be made from pervious materials — the driveway will be gravel and the actual parking area will be grass,” said John Ward, city manager.

“And it won’t require a large, storm water retention pond because the water will be able to flow through the materials. This type of project is a first for the city and possibly even in Jackson County.”

Because the project is environmentally friendly, the city was able to utilize stimulus funds from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act that was designated for “green” projects.

The overall project is expected to cost $545,000, with $327,000 of that cost being covered by stimulus funds. The rest of the funds will be covered by a $218,000 loan that the city will repay in annual installments of $14,519.

Currently, the parking lot expansion area is little more than a pile of dirt and a few patches of grass.

“The area will be graded down some to a reasonable slope,” said Jeff Killip, city public works director.

Besides serving as overflow parking for the civic center and the nearby Curry Creek Park, officials hope that project helps to stimulate more revenue and jobs in the city.

“The additional spaces will help the civic center accommodate larger events, which could help attract more business for the city,” said Killip.

Construction is expected to begin in December and to finish around March.