GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- As excavators and cranes move into the parking lots known as Arena Area 4 and 5, Grand Rapids parking manager Josh Naramore said the parking spaces will become inaccessible.
Area 4 shuts down March 7th, and Area 5 will close in mid-April.
"It's a lot of moving pieces around, and I'd say operationally it's been a little bit challenging but luckily we've had lots of time to plan for it," Naramore said.
The closures are part of the Studio Park development which will include apartments, a hotel, office space, and a movie theatre at the corner of Cherry and Iona downtown. With growth, the city expects some pain.
Naramore said monthly parking customers for these lots have been transitioned to other lots over the past two years because of this.
"I think the hardest part is reaching out to folks who only come down here a couple times a year and that aren't on, really, social media," Naramore explained.
It's knowledge the city hopes to spread through local venues so they can let their customers know where they can park. Naramore said there are 9,000 other spaces to choose from including the Cherry Commerce ramp, Weston Commerce ramp, the new parking area by the Downtown Market, and another area north of Fulton at Pearl and Ionia.
Naramore said, "So we're going to try to minimize the disruption with the road work and with this closure itself."
"I always say that progress and development comes at a little bit of a cost, but we always have to look at what we're going to get out of it which is a really great development for downtown," he added.
The city is also pushing people to its mobile parking app so drivers can see where they can park during these changes and for how much. The Studio Park project is expected to take 18 months to complete. Once it's finished, it will bring a new parking ramp with about 900 spots that will replace the roughly 600 spots lost during construction.