The River Centre Parking Ramp in downtown St. Paul has been closed, except for the upper level, since May when concrete started falling from the ceilings inside the ramp.
The CEO of Visit St. Paul, Terry Mattson, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the ramp closure means it is losing about $15,000 a day, but the safety netting is going up this week on the ramp’s lower level and things should be getting better soon.
“The lower level ramp could re-open within the next few weeks,” Mattson said. “And, we will then put it over every inch of each level working our way up and we hope to have the whole ramp open within the next few months.”
Mattson said the netting will be strong enough to protect people and the cars they park inside the ramp if there is any more concrete that peels away as the weather changes and gets colder.
“This is very strong netting that will be very close to the ceiling and it is several hundred pounds of test strength–about four to 500 pounds of test strength”, Mattson said.
Mattson said the city’s visitors and convention bureau has put aside money each year to handle a situation like this and the ramp’s closure does not mean the city will miss out on any big events in the near future.
“We’ve been putting money aside to get us through this and we are now using those funds to get us through this period of time,” Mattson said.
Mattson said the near future plans include demolishing the 50-year-old ramp and replacing it with an entirely new structure, which will add about 400 additional spaces as well.