A plan to create more parking in downtown Union took a step forward last week.

The Franklin County Commission awarded a contract to Cochran Engineering of Union to conduct a lead/asbestos survey on a building just south of the Franklin County Government Center. Cochran was the low bidder, the commission said.

The plan is to raze the building, which resembles a Quonset hut, to create more off-street parking for county employees to keep them from parking on streets downtown.

This will open up more street parking for the public and help local merchants by giving more space for customers, First District County Commissioner Tim Brinker has said.

Tearing down the building could generate around 16 new parking spaces. But Brinker said the parking layout may be redesigned to maximize the parking area.

County Building Department Director Bill Placht has said it could cost the county $20,000 to $30,000 to demolish the building.

It may be done by the end of the summer.

The bid for the asbestos survey was $450 and the lead survey was $300.

The other bid was from SCI Engineering of Union, which offered $600 for the asbestos survey and $600 for the lead survey.