Evanston’s Civic Center will be without heat for most of the rest of this month while a contractor rebuilds the top 15 feet of the more than 80-foot-tall chimney at the center’s boiler building.

The emergency project, scheduled to be approved by the City Council Monday, is expected to cost $75,590.

The need for the chimney repair work was discovered when the contractor, Midwest Pressure Washing & Restoration, Inc. of Griffith, Ind., was working on a smaller project to do tuckpointing on the boiler building.

In a memo to aldermen, Deputy City Manager Erika Storlie says the contractor found that some of the inner row of chimney bricks had fallen to the chimney floor and that the outer veneer course of bricks at the top of the chimney was in very poor condition.

City staff says the repairs — tearing down and rebuilding the top 15 feet of chimney — must be made immediately to avoid the possibility of a chimney collapse that could leave the Civic Center without heat during the winter and that it would not be safe to attempt temporary repairs to shore up the chimney because of the risk of a collapse.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Cheaper to reduce height?

    That is one tall chimney.  I assume the boiler is no longer an ancient coal boiler and has been converted to natural gas.  Is there even a need for the chimney to be so tall?  It would be cheaper to knock down the height of the chimney rather than rebuild it.  The Evanston condo building I lived in roughly 10 years ago had this same problem, and at the time the city was fine with the tall chimney being reduced in height to avoid an expensive chimney rebuild.  That building had also been converted from coal to natgas a long time ago.

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