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Columbia’s Tallest Parking Garage To Get Self-Harm Deterrents

The Columbia City Council approved plans to add protective barriers to the parking garage on Fifth and Walnut.

The structure is the tallest parking garage in the city. It also has a tragic history.

Since its opening over nine years ago, seven people have ended their lives in it, according to the Columbia Missourian.

In August, the city opened a two-week period for the public to submit feedback on the proposed project. They received 40 comments.

All but one requested a move forward with the proposed concept of fencing and window panels, and one suggested signage to be placed in the elevators and stairwells to offer 24/7 hotline assistance, according to a memo sent to the city council by the city manager.

Many of those who submitted comments recalled losing a loved one at the structure.

Molly and Kelly Carter were two of the people who spoke in favor of adding barriers to the parking garage. They lost their brother James to suicide last year when he jumped from the structure.

“There’s nothing we can do for our brother James. But if we can save one life making these changes, it will be worth it. If we can save one family from this pain, it will be worth it,” said Molly Carter.

The city council voted unanimously to approve adding protective barriers to the structure, which would make it nearly impossible for people to jump from. The proposal includes installing a fence on the roof and window screens for the rest of the floors.

While the project is expected to cost $300,000, the budget that the city adopted last month includes the project as part of the Parking Utility fund.

The proposed construction is expected to begin later this year.