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Bill Kirby Jr.: Elevator for downtown parking garage on its way

City Manager Doug Hewett says the elevator may be installed later this year.


Leave it to Pitt Dickey to keep us on our toes.  

After all, he’s a lawyer.  

He could have been a journalist of the late Lewis Grizzard ilk, because Pitt Dickey can write some humorous columns that can keep you laughing and smiling.  

But this time he’s being serious. 

“Good morning Billy,” Dickey recently said in an email, and that top-of-the-morning greeting was his first mistake.  

I’m not so sure I’ve seen the sunrise except on an Easter morning. 

“There is no elevator in the parking garage next to the baseball stadium,” he writes about the Hay Street Parking Garage adjacent to Segra Stadium, home to the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, the minor league baseball affiliate of the Houston Astros. “Can you or CityView Today find out why there is no elevator and if the city has any plans to put in the elevator? People in wheelchairs have to be rolled down the ramps to get to the street level, which is dangerous.” 

Dickey says he is asking on behalf of a friend.  

Old Pitt Dickey likely is asking for himself.  

He was about a class behind me at Seventy-First High School in the late 1960s, and where we all knew  Dickey would make something of himself in life. He was smart as could be, although he was one of the good guys who didn’t flaunt how much smarter he was than the rest of us. Or better said, how much dumber we were than him.  

He’s probably just like most of us in our 70s, and for all of us who have parked in the garage, Dickey is asking a legitimate question. The garage is five stories and there’s no elevator, which can be tough on old knees and hips and joints and your feet. Last time I parked there on the third deck, it about took the life out of my old body navigating my way down the stairwell and back up.  

Good news, bad news 

Well, old friend from days of long ago when we could climb to the top of the football bleachers at Loyd E. Auman Field and even higher into the gymnasium for a Tuesday night or Friday night basketball game, there’s good news in the offing.  

“The elevator has been ordered,” says City Manager Doug Hewett, “and will serve all five floors of the Hay Street Parking Garage.” 

That’s the good news.  

Now for the bad news.  

“There are ongoing supply chain issues,” Hewett says. 

Now back to more good news. 

“But we hope to have it installed later this year,” Hewett says. 

None too soon for me and noon too soon for Dickey, er … I mean to say Dickey’s inquiring friend. 

The initial plan was for a Hyatt Hotel to be built atop the parking garage that has come at a cost of about $17.7 million, about $7 million over budget, according to a published report. The parking garage, which is in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, was purchased by the city from Prince Charles Holdings, the developer, according to a city spokeswoman. Those are the same folks who revitalized the nearby Prince Charles Hotel into condominiums. 

Forget the hotel.  

Apartment-living now will top off the garage, Hewett says.  


That’s all I’ve got for now, Pitt.  

But I know this.  

Until there’s an elevator in the Hay Street Parking Garage, I likely will not be parking there anytime soon. Neither should anyone else with old knees, hips and joints, because once you’ve managed your way to Hay Street, you’ll be worn out … and that’s the truth of it if you are anywhere near my age. And once you’ve survived coming down the stairwell, you still have to go back up to your vehicle.  

Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at billkirby49@gmail.com or 910-624-1961.   


Column, Bill Kirby Jr., Hay Street Parking Garage, elevator