The parking garage on East Washington Street is receiving $630,000 worth of upgrades.

Those upgrades come after elevators in the garage were repaired.

Sarah Grace, D-At Large, said the elevators were struck by lightning a few weeks ago, but they have since been repaired and are now operating. 

“Though the elevator repairs happened concurrently with some of the facelift work, they are not part of the same project or budget item,” Grace said in an email. 

While the elevators were inoperable, there was no way to make the upper levels of the parking garage accessible, Grace said. 

According to a news release on Athens’ website, Athens is working with Gutknecht Construction to make the facelift improvements to the garage. There will be times where parking on certain levels is unavailable. 

The improvements are mostly cosmetic, including new LED lighting, painting and a new signage package according to the same update.

Ron Lucas, deputy service safety director, said some people do not currently use the garage because they do not feel safe. Another issue is the signage making the garage appear to be available for city staff only. 

The project will make sections on each floor are unavailable for parking, Lucas said closures will be one floor at a time, allowing vehicles to get to and park on other floors. There is no plan to close the garage entirely at this time. 

The expected completion date for the project is Nov. 15. 

Lucas said more renovations could be occurring in 2020. Those renovations depend upon funding. The renovation could include opening up stairwells throughout the garage.