MARIETTA — The Marietta City Council took the first step Wednesday toward a multi-story downtown parking deck, but its construction likely remains down the road.

Council members unanimously approved a motion on its consent agenda to pursue purchase through the Downtown Marietta Development Authority the Mill Street parking lot the DMDA leases through the state. The lot is between Mill Street and the Marietta Square Starbucks.

The purchase would need approval from the state since it owns the property, while a possible cost and where the money comes from — whether the city or the DMDA — has yet to be determined, according to Mayor Steve Tumlin.

As for the costs to build a parking deck, Tumlin said the city is still ballparking a possible price of $21,000 per parking space. A deck with 200 spaces would therefore cost an estimated $4.2 million, while going up to 300 would cost about $6.3 million.

“Being such an integral part of the Square, I imagine to sell it, to get the folks to do it, it would have to be pleasing aesthetically too, from a lot of open air, whether or not you put elevators in it, whether or not it looks like an old warehouse,” Tumlin said, adding that he did not believe community members would merely encourage construction of a plain parking deck.

“The Square is too special just to fill it with a concrete building,” he added, “but when we get the final number in, we may have to.”

Should the state greenlight the sale of the parking lot, funding for the deck itself could come from the city’s Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenues. Cobb Chairman Mike Boyce has called for a 2020 referendum to renew the 1% SPLOST, while Tumlin is considering funding the deck with the city’s revenue from that SPLOST.

The city thus far remains in the draft phase of its project list for a new SPLOST.

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