Montgomery to create its own little Central Park

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The city of Montgomery has already planted the seeds of turning asphalt into green in front of the Embassy Suites hotel. "This lot is convenient," said Mitzi Edge.

Yet Edge and her friend Steve McLaurin have mixed emotions about the city-owned parking lot becoming a park.

McLaurin is from Tennessee, Edge is from Atlanta. Both feel parking is already a problem in downtown Montgomery.

"If they could find an alternative, that would be okay," said Edge.

Chad Emerson says there is an alternative and the parking spots are easy to find.

"Within a block from here we have over a thousand parking spots including parking garages and 200 more spots," said Emerson, Director of Development for Montgomery.

With that in mind construction crews will start in July turning a corner of the parking lot at Tallapoosa and Commerce into a green space.  The price tag for this one part is $10,000. Trees have already been planted along the Commerce Street side of the lot.

The first incremental phase is being paid for from revenues generated from the parking lot. The long range goal is to turn the entire lot into a park, similar to Bryant Park in Manhattan. Bryant Park in New York covers 9 acres, located one block from Times Square.

"It's a quality of life issue," said Emerson.

Chad Emerson says the idea is to make it simple and welcoming. The plan is to do it all within 5 years assuming the incremental phases are popular with residents and tourists.

As for Steven McLaurin and Mitzi Edge, they concede this part of downtown will look better; grass and trees in place of concrete and pavement.

"I have to say if I lived here, I'd want it to be a park," said McLaurin.

As for parking in the future? They agree to look for it somewhere around the corner.

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