Speculation that the city's new downtown parking garage has major structural problems is unfounded, City Manager Mike Wildgen said Monday.
But city officials soon will be taking a closer look at the 500-space parking garage in the 900 block of New Hampshire Street.
Wildgen said city crews did discover evidence that suggested the alley directly west of the $6 million parking garage had settled about an inch since the garage and alley were constructed in 2001. There is now a small gap, or crack, between the parking garage and the alley's surface.
"But I have no feeling at all that there is some type of structural defect in the garage," Wildgen said. "It is not dangerous at all."
Participants on the Journal-World's Reader Reaction online forum had begun speculating on the garage's soundness after the crack emerged.
Engineers with Walker Parking Consultants, a Denver-based firm that helped design the parking garage, already were scheduled to do a routine inspection of the garage in early 2005. Wildgen said the engineers would look at the alley issue and make a report.
Wildgen said Walker was hired to examine the city's two downtown parking garages about every two years. He said the engineers weren't being called in as a reaction to the discovery of the alley crack.
"This is just part of our ordinary maintenance review," Wildgen said.
Walker officials also will look at the city's other downtown parking garage, which is adjacent to the former Riverfront Mall at Sixth and New Hampshire streets. SpringHill Suites by Marriott now occupies much of the former outlet mall.
Wildgen said city crews identified one pillar in that structure that had shown some signs of age. Engineers will deliver a report on whether any work is needed on that part of the garage.