By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The parking lot on the south side of the Cleveland County Courthouse is now open, County Commissioner Rod Cleveland said. The parking lot has been under renovation and expansion for several months.
The $586,000 project took longer than anticipated but only had one negative change order that reduced the project cost by $1,000.
“I was very thankful in that,” Cleveland said. “That included utility and a lot of electrical work because we added security cameras, new lighting and a fence.”
The newly expanded lot will free up public parking on the north side of the courthouse.
“It will become an employee-only secured lot,” Cleveland said.
The lot has 143 parking spaces.
“We added five employee handicap spots,” Cleveland said. “We have employees with disabilities. We also have people with temporary disabilities, such as people who have had knee surgeries.”
Lighting and gates will provide greater security for employees. For now, the gates are up, but eventually the gated lot will require the use of a county ID for a vehicle to enter.
“We can’t charge for parking; it’s against the law,” Cleveland said. “The only reason we would charge is to monitor it. We are hoping to shift employees from the north parking lot by the Chase building to this new parking lot.”
It will take a few days for the final touches to be added to the lot and for county officials to decide how to best use the parking space.
“We need to do an assessment of the employees and find out where they are currently parking and if they want to park in the new, secure lot,” Cleveland said.
Some aesthetic touches like brick end posts will help the lot blend with the surrounding architecture.
“We’re part of downtown Norman and part of the landscape, and Norman deserves a beautiful downtown landscape,” Cleveland said.