Finding a parking spot near the Crow Wing County Courthouse should be easier for the driving public.
County employees are parking their cars in the Brainerd High School parking lot to make room for public parking closer to county government buildings.
County Administrator Peter Herlofsky Jr. said the spaces are available, but people may not be aware of parking now designated specifically for the public. On a busy court date Monday, Herlofsky said more parking was open on the street as people were finding openings in the nearby lots.
"I think it will help the general circulation," Herlofsky said of traffic in general. "I think people are reluctant to use some of those spaces because they never have been able to."
Herlofsky said the efforts are part of improvements the county is making to create greater accessibility to public buildings.
Parking lots listed as public parking only between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. include:
* The lot behind the courthouse, which is accessed from South Fifth Street.
* The lot next to the Crow Wing County Historical Society and in front of the Law Enforcement Center, which is accessed from Laurel Street.
For more information
Information on public parking areas and construction progress is available online at the Crow Wing County Web site at www.co.crow-wing.mn.us.
* Part of the parking lot across the street from the courthouse, just east of Complex West and just south of the Elks Building. (The Elks Club has part of the lot reserved for members.) This lot formerly had reserved parking for Crow Wing County commissioners and other employees.
Changes in parking arose from two projects expected to reduce public parking options this summer -- the reconstruction of Laurel Street, which was put off last year because of the summer-long Washington Street/Highway 210 construction project, and demolition of buildings for the government center building complex.
Demolition of buildings on Laurel Street will continue this summer. Demolition of the former office building, which housed Tom Fitzpatrick's and Matt Mallie's law offices, will wait until after the Fourth of July. Next week a garage the county highway department uses and called the 1956 garage, will be torn down.
"Each week there will be something changing the view out here," Herlofsky said.
County employees are now parking in the Brainerd High School parking lot, near the public library, and walking from there. County workers will use the high school parking lot until early August. Other parking lots employees use, such as the one next to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad tracks off South Fourth Street and parking behind Complex West, were closed.
The lot by the railroad tracks, which is just north of Front Street, will be paved and county employees will be able to access this lot in August.
On Friday, county employees are encouraged to carpool, walk or bike to work as parking at the high school will be limited to provide room for a quilters' event.
RENEE RICHARDSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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