By Rebecca J. Barnabi
For Augusta Free Press
STAUNTON — On Aug. 8, the Queen City experienced flooding that affected most of the local businesses in the heart of downtown.
The Johnson Street Garage also experienced damage because of the flood.
The bottom level of the garage above the creek is closed to parking while construction is done to replace a slab that flooding of the creek from below the garage caused to raise 5 to 6 inches.
“As a rule, parking garages are made to take forces from above, not below,” said Staunton City Director of Public Works Jeff Johnston.
Parking in this section of the garage was by Staunton police officers, so public parking will not be affected by the construction.
The repairs, which will keep the bottom level of the garage closed possibly until late September, will give police a needed resource back: parking.
“Obviously, there’s a lot that happened with that flood, and we’re getting around to fixing the garage,” Johnston said.
The water which came up under the parking garage is the water that flows through Gypsy Hill Park, near The Wharf, under the Staunton Police Department and Johnson Street Garage, then into Lewis Creek.
“We knew we needed to do this the morning after the flood,” Johnston said of the repairs.
According to Johnston, “the inconvenience will be and has been for the police department,” not the public.
“Water is not to be trifled with,” Johnston said.
This year’s repairs because of last August’s flood follow repairs done to the garage in 2019 to the upper section because water was coming into the garage.
“Two separate water-related problems,” Johnston said.
In 2019, however, repairs kept the garage closed for several months to public parking.
“There really should be no impact to the general public,” Johnston said of this year’s repairs.
Staunton police have been affected by the closure of part of the Johnson Street Garage since the flood on Aug. 8.
“So, they haven’t had their parking for some time.”