Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bye-Bye Bell

We saw this on the Town Center listserv:

The Town Center Bell Tower structure at Lake Kittamaqundi has been deemed a safety liability and will be removed in late May or early June depending on permit process. Once demolition has begun, the project will take an estimated one week to complete. Replacement or restructuring of the Bell Tower will be postponed until it can be completed within the context of the new downtown redevelopment master plan.

The Columbia Association (CA) recently commissioned Century Engineering to perform a structural survey to assess the structural integrity of the tower. Major deficiencies in the structure were found. Their recommendation to CA staff was to replace the tower. CA’s Chief Operations Officer Rob Goldman states, “Residents’ safety is our main concern, and the current condition of the Bell Tower creates safety and liability concerns. By removing the structure now and delaying replacement until downtown redevelopment plans have been finalized, we can ensure that we will have a safe lakefront area that enhances the Columbia community.”

After receiving the report from the structural engineer, the immediate removal of the four flag poles mounted near the top of the Bell Tower was ordered and completed. The request for bids to demolish the Bell Tower has been issued and the permit process has begun. The flag poles, the carillon and other reusable parts will be safely stored until further notice.

The Town Center Bell Tower structure has been a concern for some time. Replacement was first proposed by CA staff in 2006. At that time replacement was delayed so that shared funding with The Rouse Company (now General Growth Properties) could be pursued and so that any downtown redevelopment planning could be considered. An initial review of the structure was undertaken in 2007 by KCI Technologies, with subsequent inspections by Century Engineering in 2008, 2009 and most recently in April 2010. Since 2007, approximately $37,000 has been spent to reinforce the Bell Tower. These expenditures have extended the life of the Bell Tower by three years.

For more information, please contact Rob Goldman at 410-715-3121.

No comments: