August 26, 2013 by wcobserver
A little taste of charm disappeared recently from West Fork’s architectural landscape. The gazebo that for many years adorned the park at the Frank Wenzel Community Center was demolished and hauled away. It fell victim to neglect. City officials said it had become structurally unsound and posed a hazard for the children that played there.
The wooden structure, build on a concrete slab, succumbed to rotting members at its base. Rather than replace the damaged sections, the city chose to remove the entire gazebo.
This is not the first instance of deferred maintenance resulting in unnecessary expense for the city.
Below is an excerpt from an August 2011 Observer article on the July council meeting.
The ongoing problem of water intrusion into city hall that required extensive mold abatement and a remodel of offices several months ago was addressed. Utilities Superintendent Michael “Butch” Bartholomew who also serves as building inspector and is responsible for maintenance of city property recommended to the council that the roof be repaired. “There are holes big enough to put your fist through,” said Bartholomew adding that the roof has “not been touched since ’87.”
The estimate for the repair work presented by the Utilities Superintendent was $14,567. With only about $6700 in the building maintenance fund the council authorized funds for repair should come from the capital outlay fund which has a $24,000 reserve. The work is to be done by Freedom Coatings LLC, a West Fork company.
More recently, city officials have encountered a growing water intrusion problem in two other city owned buildings. The community center building’s leak in its northwest corner is less inconvenient than the multiple leaks in the library building, but troublesome, nonetheless.
In the library building, city workers have made several attempts, without success, in past months to prevent leaks in the area of the women’s restroom and also in the new addition.
Damage caused by water intrusion is visible in the ceiling tiles of the restroom. Tiles with evidence of mold have been replaced repeatedly. The mold situation in the restroom ceiling is a potential health hazard for library patrons and employees.
If West Fork is to live up to its motto, “Where the Best Begins,” perhaps the town should start at the top and begin with the best roofs before the elements consume another structure.
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