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Demolition of parking garage called 'unsafe' begins

Workers have begun to tear down a downtown Lexington parking garage that city officials have called "unsafe."

Demolition crews started tearing down the Phoenix Garage on Vine Street Tuesday.

Last May, a 28 foot piece of concrete fell from the upper deck of the garage. No one was injured, but the city began an investigation.

Last fall, city officials decided it was cheaper to tear down the garage, than to repair it.

We're told demolition of the garage should take about a month.

Demolition crews will be back on excavators Wednesday morning. They're finally taking down a parking garage deemed unsafe, after a concrete panel fell from the upper deck right onto the sidewalk in May.

"Happened on a Sunday evening. Thankfully there was no one in the general area and we're just really really happy that no one was hurt," said Garage Manager Tom Wilson during an interview in May.

That damage sparked a series of safety inspections, and five months later, the city had the place closed for good.

"Leaving the garage open is dangerous for anyone who parks there or uses the sidewalks surrounding it," said Mayor Jim Gray during an interview last November, "I have to confess it's a lot better announcing a new structure going up than taking one down, but sometimes taking one down is the best business decision especially when it's based fully on financial and safety reasons."

Mayor Gray says workers regularly inspect all six city-owned garages. The Phoenix Garage will lose 55 parking spaces with the new one-level structure.


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