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2003 News from Mecklenburg County

March 6, 2003 

Mecklenburg County Unveils Design for New Courthouse Parking Deck
 
Charlotte, NC – Visitors to Mecklenburg County's new courthouse should have no problem finding a place to park or finding their way to the courthouse to conduct business.  Mecklenburg County Real Estate Services has unveiled designs for a new state-of-the-art parking deck to serve the new courthouse by the time it opens in 2006.

The new parking deck will be located at the corner of Fourth and McDowell Streets, in Charlotte's Government District.  The eight-story garage will be across the 4th and McDowell intersection from Mecklenburg County's new courthouse, which is currently under construction on the site of the old courts parking deck.   It will have space for approximately 1,100 -1,200 vehicles, more than double the amount provided in the old deck.

The new parking structure is designed to emphasize connectivity to the new Mecklenburg County Courthouse and the surrounding neighborhood, as well as maximize traffic flow in and out of the garage. Motorists will have easy entry from Interstate 277, Fourth Street or East Trade Street.  There will be separate entrances for court employees and visitors, with designated parking for jurors.

The deck design calls for 12,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, and a tree-lined outdoor plaza facing the new courthouse. The plaza will contain benches, tables and chairs, in hopes of creating a comfortable location for retail patrons to gather.  The upper floors of the parking deck will be constructed using design techniques to maximize the safety and comfort of pedestrians.  That includes vehicle ramps that do not interrupt pedestrians' line of sight on any floor of the deck.

The intersection at Fourth and McDowell Streets will also be redesigned and reconstructed to facilitate movement of visitors across the street from the garage to the courthouse.  The redesign includes a new surface with walking paths, tighter turning circles to reduce the length of crosswalks, and new crossing lights, all with pedestrian safety and comfort at the forefront.

Construction on the new courts parking deck is expected to begin in late 2003, with completion slated for 2005.  The new courthouse is expected to open in 2006.  The parking deck was designed by architectural design firm The Freelon Group, with assistance from Charlotte urban designer Deborah Ryan.  Design was conducted with input from the Courthouse Task Force, a group of representatives from agencies that utilize Mecklenburg County's court facilities.  The Task Force also worked on the design of the new courthouse.

More information about the new Mecklenburg County courthouse and Judicial Center is available at www.charmeck.org under the department "Real Estate Services."



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