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An outside view of the parking garage is seen here in January. Contractors are still putting some finishing touches on the building but it will be open Thursday and parking will be free until April.

Walter Hinick, The Montana Standard

Butte’s new Uptown parking garage will be open for the first time Thursday and anyone is welcome to park for free.

In fact, county officials are encouraging it.

“Please come and discover the convenience of parking in the garage when visiting or working in Uptown Butte,” they said in a brief announcement.

Karen Byrnes, Butte-Silver Bow’s community development director, said there won’t be any hoopla Thursday.

“It’s kind of a soft opening,” she said.

Contractors have some finishing touches to make on the $7.4 million garage and electronic kiosks — easy-to-use stations that take parking payments — have yet to be installed. Those should all be completed by April, Byrnes said, and there will be a grand opening and ribbon-cutting then.

The 248-parking garage has been talked about for a decade and under construction since August 2016. Construction costs were financed through bonds backed by property tax dollars from Uptown’s special taxing district.

Parking will be free until April. Costs after that are $40 for monthly permits or $1 per hour from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays. Parking on the weekends and from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. on weeknights will be free.

Anyone wanting a permit can call 406-497-6270.

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