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The second phase of a downtown parking project will be under construction by summer, and when it is done, Second Street S will have 90 parking spaces available for visitors to the city's quaint downtown.

Phase I was completed in April 2010, resulting in 42 spaces along Second Street S between Third Avenue and Fifth Avenue. New decorative lighting was added, too. The cost of Phase I was $400,905.

Beginning in June, more spaces will be added along Second Street S from Fifth Avenue to Seventh Avenue. Currently, there are only 12 diagonal parking spaces plus one handicapped parking space along that stretch. The parking will be converted to 90-degree, straight-in spaces and additional spaces will be built, for 48 in all. The cost for Phase II is $400,000.

"The two-phase Second Street parking project, when completed this summer, will provide 90 new parking spaces for our downtown business district, all within 250 feet of Main Street," said city engineer Bill Baker. "The project adds new landscaping and improves the stormwater system in the area. It's just a nice update for our community."

The owners of seven properties on Second Street S willingly gave the city a 10-foot easement so that a sidewalk could be moved as part of the project.

The city had identified a need for more public parking downtown, especially for events that attract crowds.

"It's key to have the appropriate number of parking spaces for our festivals," said Mayor Andy Steingold. "This will alleviate any parking issues whenever we have special events in our downtown."

Contact Demorris A. Lee at dalee@sptimes and (727)445-4174