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Parking garage near the Oxford Square imminent, plans move forward

You might see a rate increase at the parking meters in downtown Oxford starting next year to boost revenue to put toward construction of a parking garage near the Square.

With the imminent construction of a garage behind the Oxford-University Club, the Downtown Parking Advisory Commission is developing a plan to proceed.

The commission met this week to discuss the project, including whether to present a design-build or a design-bid-build project-delivery system to the Board of Aldermen.

With the design-build method, the design and construction services are contracted by a single firm known as the design-builder or design-build contractor. This method is generally considered to be faster in the construction process than design-bid-build, in which multiple firms are considered.

“The critical thing (with the garage) is going to be time,” said Tom Sharpe, chairman. “We don’t want the construction to go through two football seasons.”

The commission decided to pass the motion to present a design-build model to the Board of Aldermen.

Coinciding with the construction of the new garage, the commission also passed the motion to raise parking rates at existing meters and to extend the meters’ hours as a way to raise revenue. The idea will be presented to the Board of Aldermen along with the design-build motion during a future Board of Aldermen meeting.

The commission is proposing the rate be raised by a quarter — from $1 to $1.25 per hour and the hours will be extended from 10 p.m. to midnight. The target date for these changes is Jan. 1, 2017.