Plans are being finalized for a parking garage in downtown Gallatin, which officials say could open late next year before construction of a new Sumner County Courthouse is completed.
Schematic drawings of the structure, which will be located on East Franklin Street directly across from Christian Towers, are expected to be ready within the next four to six weeks, according to Sumner County Commissioner Leslie Schell, who also serves as chair of the county’s general operations committee.
“Everything is moving ahead nicely, just as we would anticipate,” Shell said about the project last week. “Anything can happen (with construction), but as of right now we are pretty close to our timeline.”
In April, the county purchased the site for the future parking garage from the Gallatin Church of Christ for $688,000, according to a purchase and sale agreement for the property.
As part of the deal, the county spent $450,000 for the property, $88,000 for two adjacent alleyways, $50,000 for the relocation of an existing playground, $20,000 for transitional parking for Christian Towers, $30,000 for the church to rent a building for worship services during construction and $50,000 to cover any unforeseen expenses the church may have.
Shell said the new courthouse, which is under construction nearby at the corner of East Main Street and South Boyers Avenue next to the Gallatin Public Library, is expected to open in early 2023. The parking garage is expected to open about six months earlier barring any delays.
Gallatin city leaders verbally agreed to partner with Sumner County to bring additional parking to downtown in 2019. While the multi-level structure is expected to have about 350 spaces once built, specific details about the partnership have not yet been approved by the city.
However, officials have already set aside $2 million for the city’s portion of the project as well as $1 million to make improvements to Smith Street near the new courthouse, according to Gallatin Mayor Paige Brown.
“This parking garage is very important to Gallatin since the courthouse construction has begun,” Brown said Friday. “The money is there to fulfill what we’ve committed to, but we still have not seen what the garage might look like, nor has it gone through the planning process.”
In 2017, the Sumner County Commission voted to hire Justice Planning Associates to review the county’s criminal justice and court facilities following several emergency funding requests for building repair projects.
Following the study, the firm recommended building a new courthouse, expanding the jail along with the sheriff’s office and renovating the existing courthouse in downtown Gallatin.
County leaders later voted to issue up to $103.6 million in general obligation school and public improvements bonds in December of 2019. Of that money, $86.75 million would be used to fund the design, construction and equipping of the new courthouse and nearby parking garage.