Anybody but taxpayers ought to be the pledge as Oak Park's village government mulls the revolting development that its five-year-old addition to the Holley Court parking garage in downtown has already developed structural cracks.
The pledge is essential because somebody is going to have to pay to shore-up or otherwise reinforce portions of the $13.4 million expansion of the garage built in conjunction with the storied Whiteco/Oak Park Apartments/Trader Joe's project.
Already village hall has ponied up $60,000 to pay a consulting engineer to sort out the issue and to estimate the cost of fixing it. About $750,000 is the estimate, and that doesn't cover the cost of the consultant designing a fix and overseeing the repairs.
We've been on this story for a couple of months, ever since a reader tipped us to the temporary posts he'd seen being installed. It is not going away soon.
Steve Witt, the head of the village's building department, cautions that it is too soon "to start pointing fingers." He does, however, go on to suggest there may have been an error in the architectural drawings. So we are going to get our pointing finger cocked and say that — whether it is the architect, the engineer, the construction firm or Whiteco itself — blame must be affixed either through discussion and negotiation, or via a lawsuit and a settlement.
Right now 10 percent of the spaces in the 1,200 car garage are blocked off to customer use. The village is paying the consultant to re-inspect the garage every two weeks. The consultant's report suggests that there are cracks in the garage that were painted over during construction. And it is clear that the garage needs "temporary shoring" in at least 10 locations.
This isn't pretty. Blame needs to be apportioned. Judgment needs to be made as to the long-term worries over a garage which is cracked at this early date. And somebody other than taxpayers needs to pay the freight.
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