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Report: Sherman garage not falling down

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A consultant's report says Evanston's Sherman Plaza garage is in generally good shape and scaffolding to protect pedestrians can be removed.

The scaffolding was put up several months ago after some small pieces of cracked concrete were spotted in the precast panels that form the exterior sheathing of the downtown garage.

The report, from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates of Northbrook, says that after inspecting the building exterior using a swingstage and by rappelling drops the company's crews found several deteriorated concrete patches and several areas of unsound concrete in the panels

The consultants also found areas where sealants used to protect the garage from water infiltration had failed as well as a vareity of other issues.

They recommended that the city replace failed sealants and then re-evaluate the need for further replacements every five years, and that it make spot repairs to the damage concrete and flashing mateials.

Stephanie Levine. assistant superintendent of the city's Parks Department, said told the city's Transportation and Parking Committee Wednesday night that the repairs proposed by the consultant "are really routine maintenance issues fora building of this size and type."

"We'll need to keep after his and revisit it on a regular basis," Levine said. The garage was completed in 2006.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, who has repeatedly discussed the structural failures that led to the demolition of the old Sherman Avenue garage just 30 years into its life, said, "We're learning we have to have a regular maintenance plan" for public buildings like the garage.

Because much of the proposed repair work needs to be done in warm weather, Levine said there really isn't time to go through the design and bidding process and get it done this year.

But she said the consultants were "perfectly comfortable" with postponing that work until 2013.

Earlier this month the City Council voted to spend nearly $57,000 to replace light poles on the roof of the garage.

Some of those poles were damaged and two fell down during high winds last October.

A Wiss Janney report on that issue blamed defective hinge bolts in the base of the light poles for he failures.

Top: One of the fallen light poles on the top level of the Sherman garage (file photo).

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