Archive for Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Police find flooding at Oread Inn site both Wednesday and Thursday morning

Casey Stewart, job superintendent at the Oread Inn building project, works his way through water in the lower level of the building at 12th and Oread on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008. Vandals opened a fire hydrant at 12th and Oread sometime overnight, causing the water damage.

Casey Stewart, job superintendent at the Oread Inn building project, works his way through water in the lower level of the building at 12th and Oread on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008. Vandals opened a fire hydrant at 12th and Oread sometime overnight, causing the water damage.

October 22, 2008, 10:34 a.m. Updated October 23, 2008, 4:26 a.m.


Police: Flooding at Oread Inn site caused by open fire hydrant

It's a sight that's been seen before as a watery mess filled up the construction site at the Oread Inn today. But the rain that fell today wasn't to blame for the muddy mess. Enlarge video

Damage causes flooding at Oread Inn site

Construction workers inspect the aftermath and work to remove water after the Oread Inn site was flooded Wednesday morning. Enlarge video

Construction workers spent Wednesday pumping water out of the Oread Inn development after someone damaged the site overnight.

Police were called at 6 a.m. to the hotel construction site near 12th and Indiana Streets after receiving a report of a roadway obstruction. Officers discovered that someone had activated a fire hydrant near the site and about seven feet of water had filled the construction pit.

KU police were again called to the scene at about 4:15 a.m. Thursday morning. The same fire hydrant was found open and gushing water into the construction site. The hydrant was shut off in about 25 minutes.

"It's an annoyance," said Larry "Cowboy" Wiezorek, a job site superintendent for Lawrence based general contractor Gene Fritzel Construction Co.

Wednesday's hydrant incident damaged several pieces of construction equipment on the site. According to Lawrence police, damage is estimated at $40,000, but construction crews were still tallying their losses.

"We had some forklifts down there that got some water up in them and we don't know the extent of (the damage)," Wiezorek said.

The water filled the basement area of the development, where three construction workers dressed in hard hats, yellow rain coats and black rain boots monitored two pumps Wednesday morning that sent the water through huge hoses and out onto Indiana Street. The pumping was expected to take the entire day.

Meanwhile, cars in the area splashed through a stream of water that expanded out of the gutters of nearby roads.

Some Kansas University students living in the neighborhood gawked at the site on their way to class and were hopeful the problem wouldn't delay the project.

"It really sucks," said Alex Horwitz, a KU sophomore from Prairie Village. "I live right next to it, so we want the construction to get finished, because we wake up to it every morning."

Property owners and those living in the neighborhood have raised concerns about the developer's need to keep a one-block portion of Indiana Street closed until August 2009.

Wiezorek said Wednesday's fire hydrant incident is only "a hiccup in the road" for the $37 million construction project. A similar occurrence happened about three weeks ago, he said, but was discovered more quickly.

"I think whoever does it thinks it's funny," he said. "I don't think it's funny at all."

As for Wednesday's damage, police have not yet identified any suspects. The construction company's working with police and Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical officials on plans to make sure it doesn't happen again, Wiezorek said.

Construction workers said the incident won't hold them back on completing the seven story and 106-room hotel and condo development by January 2010.

The water incident is the latest in a series of problems faced by the development group, which includes Lawrence businessmen Thomas and Tim Fritzel and Todd Sutherland.

Workers also dealt with a water problem in early September, when a water main break caused water to pour into the site.

A construction worker was injured at the site Oct. 13, and taken by helicopter ambulance to a Kansas City-area hospital.


not_dolph 9 years, 1 month ago

This whole thing gives me the chills...or maybe it just makes me

Boston_Corbett 9 years, 1 month ago

Isn't this the area where you did your drug buys in the 60's during your Narc days Marion?

Jaylee 9 years, 1 month ago

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kusp8 9 years, 1 month ago

I'm not a supporter of vigilante justice, but I'd say the developers should have seen it coming. Afterall, who really wants that there? Certainly not the people (read students) who live, work, and attend school, in the area.

Jo_Jo 9 years, 1 month ago

Well said, ONmySOAPbox. It is really amazing how people in Lawrence (at least the majority of people who post comments) seem to be against economic development. Here are my suggestions - Go get a sandwich at Yellow Sub on 23rd St. and a beer at The Wheel, Hawk, Bull, or West and quit complaining about a project that will create tax revenue and jobs in a town that does not have a long line of businesses waiting to come here.

terrapin2 9 years, 1 month ago

There's b3 again, trying to blame it on the hippies! And not only blaming it on the hippies, but suggesting that it would be OK to HUNT hippies. At least we can all take comfort in knowing that the world will be a better place when b3 is gone!That said, this project never should have been approved for this location, plain and simple. So while it may only be a minor set back for the Fritzel crew it is quite humorous to read about.

Justin Roberts 9 years, 1 month ago

Do people really think they are going to permanently stop construction by flooding the site? The project is not due for completion until 2010, loosing 1 or 2 days is not going to make a difference for a 2 year long project. All it does is make the surrounding community look bad and raises the crime rate. It's a hotel for pete sake, not like they are opening a porn store.Big picture, with the economy in the toliet can we really afford to not allow a business that is going to generate sales tax?

Keith 9 years, 1 month ago

"Marion Lynn (Marion Lynn) says:Must be the result of some of the "civil disobiedience" that AlGore spoke of recently!"We don't have to look for Al Gore to find "civil disobedience" as you call it, we can just look back a day or so in the Journal World forums to find a local 'terrorist'. Lets see, who was it again... here it is."Marion Lynn (Marion Lynn) says:No surprise here, so what you do is go to one of the day work centers and find about a dozen strong guys.Then you go to the hardware store and buy them shovlels, pick, rakes and other implements of destruction and wait for dark.While you and The Gang Of Twelve are waiting for dark you are also getting them all likkered up with the cheap booze that you promised them in addition to the pay.At about 1:30 AM (When the cops are all busy with the bar corwd!), you set them to digging at one of the dikes hoilding back the wetlands.Soon as the water starts to flow real good you move to another spot on the dike and repeat the process. Do this several times.The rapidly flowing water will quickly erode the openings into really large holes in the dike and the veritable floodgates will open, draining the whole swamp before anyone can do anyathing about it.You should be able to cut five or six holes before anyone knows what is going on and by that time, you've returned the crew to home and you're off to bed; a job well done!"Pot, meet kettle, or Pot narc meet kettle

Justin Roberts 9 years, 1 month ago

I've only lived in Lawrence about 8 years and I cant seem to figure out why everyone dislikes Gene Fritzel? All I know about the guy is that his company truck are red and he builds buildings. What did he do to turn everyone against him? When did it become so unethical to start your own business, make a good living and prosper?Will Fritzel own part of the Oread Inn when it is completed or is he simply the contracter?

bearclaws 9 years, 1 month ago

I may be completely wrong, but I seem to remember heavy rains associated with the water main break in September.Strange coincidence that both of these flooding incidents occur during heavy precipitation, yet the cause of the flooding is blamed on a water main break, and now someone opening a fire hydrant.Just an observation.

Jaylee 9 years, 1 month ago

hawkperchedatriverfront (Anonymous) says: "37 million for a hotel sounds like a bargain compared to 30 million for a library. At least the hotel has 106 rooms plus condos and a swimming pool(?) and a restaurant. Methinks the library project is a rip off big time! And the library wouldn't pay property taxes."ME NO LIKEY READS OR LEARN!!! ME WANT PLAY!!!!

ASBESTOS 9 years, 1 month ago

"I'm not a supporter of vigilante justice, but I'd say the developers should have seen it coming. Afterall, who really wants that there?"I guess that then "turnabout is fairplay" with the construction "thugs" finding just who did this and beating them to dust?If there is any moron that thinks that "civil disobedience" like this is OK, they need their axels greased again.Here ya go "funky dog" is seems as if you do not understand "TIF's at all".

blakus 9 years, 1 month ago

karma, indeed. 37 million dollars for a building is ridiculous btw. and all this 'hippie' jargon is crap... if you know your history, the hippies of the 60s ceremoniously 'killed' the title after the drug binges in san fran tarnished their image... quit generalizing people as hippies, you just look ignorant.

avaholic 9 years, 1 month ago

Why do I have they feeling if they were building a porn shop the hydrant would be undamaged?

c_dubya 9 years, 1 month ago

funkdog1 - I thought once Bush was out of office it was going to be all rainbows and lollipops again! Are you telling me Obama isn't going to change everything and make the world perfect again?!? I can't believe I've been lied to!

Ray March 9 years, 1 month ago

the gods of KU don't want this monstrousity on campus...first the accident. then the floods. it's not meant to be fritzel!

fu7il3 9 years, 1 month ago

Karma or not. If the person gets caught, they are looking at a long time in jail, causing that much damage.

Confrontation 9 years, 1 month ago

According to you folks, it should be raining frogs soon.

funkdog1 9 years, 1 month ago

ONmySOAPbox wrote: Big picture, with the economy in the toliet can we really afford to not allow a business that is going to generate sales tax?-----------Ah, but did you know the project has been granted a TIF? Do you know what a TIF does? It diverts the tax generated by the business from the city coffers to the business coffers for as long as the TIF has been agreed to.Let me say that again: FOR THE LIFE OF THE TIF, THE TAX COLLECTED AT THE OREAD INN WILL GO TO THE OREAD INN AND NOT TO THE CITY.Don't believe me? Look it up. That's how TIFs work.

SMe 9 years, 1 month ago

Anybody else note that construction workers also wear their hats backwards?I'm cool. Yes, I am. I AM cool. Yes, I am. I am COOL. Yes, I am.

funkdog1 9 years, 1 month ago

Thanks, Asbestos, you proved my point entirely. The city, state, county, etc. doesn't receive any tax revenue from the TIF district until the "property values" rise for the area due to the construction. How long do ya think that'll take in this economy? And how often to property values actually FALL if the development is a Wal-Mart or a bunch 'o' fast food restaurants?

middleofdirtroad 9 years, 1 month ago

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verity 9 years, 1 month ago

For civil disobedience to be effective, doesn't one have to identify themselves and explain what their objective is?Otherwise, I think it is just plain old vandalism.

jumpin_catfish 9 years, 1 month ago

SMe (Anonymous) said:One word. Karma.Wrong word: crime

one_track 9 years, 1 month ago

Lets not forget to send the water bill to Gene Fritzel Construction Co. 642 Mass.

sjschlag 9 years, 1 month ago

Bad luck befalls this construction site. Wonder if it will start sinking.....

TacoBob 9 years, 1 month ago

hawkperchedatriverfront, we get it. Hire a security guard and put up cameras, right? It doesn't take 10 posts saying the same thing to make your point.Also, there ain't no library project. None. So grind your axe somewhere else.

Shane Garrett 9 years, 1 month ago

Did anyone think that perhaps hippies did not have anything to do with this? Perhaps the hippies are still sitting around their drum circle. Perhaps it was an under bid sub-contractor trying cause Gene trouble and money.

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