Calvary Baptist plans to build parking deck near Bryant-Denny

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Calvary Baptist plans to build parking deck near Bryant-Denny

CW/ Kallie Chabla

CW/ Kallie Chabla

CW/ Kallie Chabla

CW/ Kallie Chabla

Shahriyar Emami, Staff Reporter

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Construction for the planned Calvary Baptist church parking deck is expected to begin in 2020 after the fall football season. The deck is designed to connect to the church, which is located on Paul W Bryant Drive.

Chris D’Esposito, director of transportation services, said the Calvary Church parking deck project is independent of the University.

“As far as I know, it has nothing to do with my department,” D’Esposito said.

D’Esposito said he is unaware of the specifics of the project. Since Calvary Baptist is a private property, the church will oversee construction if the project is confirmed.

“I have no idea of their intention or how they are going to use it,” D’Esposito said.

As operations pastor, Tim Plant handles all administrative tasks for the church. Among his tasks involves overseeing the development of the parking deck. Limited parking during high capacity times resulted in the idea to build a parking deck.

“On our high capacity times, we do not have enough parking spaces here on Sunday mornings,” Plant said.

In January, the Tuscaloosa City Council voted to rezone the church property for the deck’s construction. However, that does not mean the deck is confirmed to be built.

Calvary Baptist is currently going through the steps to be approved for the parking deck.

“There’s no concrete plan that we’re going to build that thing,” Plant said. “There could be a lot of things that happen that keep us from building it.”

Plant said there is a chance that the deck will not be approved for construction as it is still early in the process.

For Plant, a benefit of the deck would be a safer route for churchgoers and students going to class. Right now, churchgoers need to be shuttled to Calvary. Pedestrians entering the church have to cross the street to get in.

“If everything works out and we build the parking deck, we will no longer need to shuttle anybody,” Plant said.

People currently need permits to park in the Calvary parking lot. Those spots are reserved for construction workers working on construction projects. Construction workers have permits to park on the lot for free in areas reserved for them.

“In order to guarantee those workers a place to park, it has to be a permit lot,” Plant said.

Students can still find free parking in the church’s south parking area.

It is estimated that the Tuscaloosa City Council will approve the deck for construction in early spring or summer, Plant said.