Pilot Staff Writer

After a year of negotiating between city and state officials and a local property owner, construction has begun on a new downtown parking lot.

The $70,000 project will add about 60 parking spaces to Brookings' business district near Fern and Chetco avenues, where optometrist John Rush has had his office parking lot.

Last month Rush agreed to lease the parking lot to the city, which bought the site next to it in September 2001.

After razing the two buildings on the site, city officials worked with Rush and the Oregon Department of Transportation to create a public parking lot there.

City Manager Leroy Blodgett said $30,000 of the funds for the project came from the Rural Investments Board, which awards grants subsidized by state lottery money.

The remainder comes from the city's reserve funds.

Contractor Dave Freeman of Freeman Rock Enterprise Inc. said he expects the project to be completed in about 45 days.