County workers using close parking spaces, not garage

           All parking spots are taken on the east side of the Harrison County Courthouse on Monday morning. A new parking garage is scheduled to be complete in June.

GULFPORT

People who have business at the Harrison County Courthouse know a parking place is a hot commodity these days.

Motorists can be seen circling the building multiple times before a car pulls out, or they end up parking blocks from the downtown building.

People who work in the courthouse are supposed to park at the Coast Transit Authority garage on 15th Street while a two-story garage is being built, but supervisors learned Monday that isn’t happening.

Mike Wilson, with buildings and grounds, told the board employees are taking up the spaces while members of the public are walking.

“People can’t park at the courthouse,” he said. “There are elderly people who are having to park down the street and walk.”

Construction on the parking garage north of the courthouse began in August. Employees are supposed to take a CTA shuttle from the garage on 15th Street until the new structure is complete in June. Free shuttles run from the CTA garage to the courthouse, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

There are some spots reserved at the courthouse, including 10 for judges and a parking place for each elected official. Supervisors also each have a spot, but those have been reserved for years.

About 250 people work in the courthouse, and Wilson said on the best days there are 30 cars in the CTA garage.

“It’s the people who are paying our salaries who are suffering,” he said. “It’s an issue.”

County Administrator Pam Ulrich agreed it’s a problem.

“We have told everybody that there are county vehicles that will take them back and forth to their vehicles, but they don’t do it,” she said.

Supervisors voted unanimously to allow people who see employees parking at the courthouse to send a memo to the employees’ bosses.

By MELISSA M. SCALLAN – mmscallan@sunherald.com

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