Casper parking garage ‘not sketchy anymore’; a good place for murals (PHOTOS+VIDEO)

(Brendan LaChance, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — The public parking garage in downtown Casper “doesn’t feel very sketchy anymore.”

That is according to Backwards Distillery part-owner Amber Pollock, who says she and some of her employees at the tasting room park there. She says that the city installed new LED lighting in the parking garage in recent years.

Pollock’s comments came during a Saturday, Sept. 7 gathering of young people in Casper at the ENDOW Summit 2019. Young Casperites were brainstorming ideas for what improvements they’d like to see in the community.

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The parking garage is owned by the city, but managed by the Downtown Development Authority. DDA Executive Director Kevin Hawley says the DDA recommended the lighting project to the city, adding that it had “tripled brightness” in the facility.

(Hawley provided a video showing the lighting upgrades, available at this link.)

The parking garage also features publicly accessible restrooms:

(Brendan LaChance, Oil City)

At Saturday’s meeting, Kyle Gamroth said he thinks there may need to be a mindset change as Casper’s downtown grows, saying that parking may become more difficult to find on the streets.

He pointed to projects like the new state office building set to be built along Collins Drive or a proposal to add new downtown housing along South David Street.

Should the city council decide to dedicate the Goodstein parking lot near David Street and Midwest Avenue to food trucks, that could put further strain on downtown parking when that lot is busy.

Gamroth said he thinks people may need to get used to parking in the garage.

There was also talk about the possibility to add more murals to the parking garage.

Hawley explained that the mural on the first floor was completed by artist Tony Elmore, who recently completed the nearby Rev. James Reeb mural.

Up to a dozen more murals could be added in downtown Casper in the next six years if the Casper Mural Project’s plans come to fruition.

The alley way next to the parking garage, stretching from the Backwards’ tasting room over to David Street Station could be transformed into a brick pedestrian walkway with new lighting to feature some of this art work.

Gamroth suggested that allowing food trucks to park in that alley once the project is complete could draw people to the area.

Pollock pointed to one potential problem with the parking garage. Since it doesn’t rely upon an automated payment system but rather an attendant, there is a loophole for people who use the hourly parking spaces to avoid paying hourly fees after hours.