Ever since September, a consultant has had the Holley Court garage in Oak Park under a microscope. Part of the massive structure is cracking and crumbling and the engineer is trying to figure out why.
The village's contract with the consultant was originally $13,400. But the work has proved to be more involved than originally expected, and after a third a change to the contract last week, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates is up to $60,000 for assessment of the garage, which is located at Harlem and Ontario.
The engineering firm will inspect Holley Court twice a month, and design "temporary shoring" at 10 different spots there, according to the most recent change in their contract.
The Holley Court Garage was originally built in 1984. It has been expanded several times to reach its current capacity of 1,213 spaces, including the west addition, built in 2006 at a cost of about $13.4 million. Village hall provided funds for the expansion, which developer Whiteco Residential oversaw. That is where the cracks are forming.
Village Manager Tom Barwin said Oak Park is currently holding conversations with Whiteco, looking to get the Merrillville, Ind.-based developer to cover any repairs needed at the garage.
"When we pay a company to do a project for us, I think it's a fair expectation that, just four years after it's completed, the thing should be in darn-near perfect condition," Barwin said.
He wasn't sure yet exactly what work needs to be done, but said Oak Park hopes to have a repair plan and an agreement with Whiteco in the next 30 days. In the meantime, 120 spaces in the garage have been shut down during the assessment.
A call to the head of Whiteco, Tim Connelly, on Monday was not returned immediately. In January, the consultant deferred all questions to village hall.
Oak Park had till Monday to respond to a Wednesday Journal Freedom of Information Act request for all correspondence between the consultant, village and Whiteco, but, instead, asked for an extra five days.
Greg Marsey, a village trustee from 2003 to 2007, who campaigned against the Whiteco tower, was "disappointed" to hear about the problems Oak Park is having at Holley Court.
"Bottom line is no garage structure should be falling down within five years of being built," he said. "Something was not done correctly."