Rocky Fork Enterprise

Creekside development

City intends to see why structures deteriorating

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Gahanna City Council is considering an expense of $45,000 to test and investigate the cause of uneven surfaces, flooding and general disrepair at Creekside.

Parks and recreation director Tony Collins told council Nov. 26 that his team has been working aggressively to maintain Creekside Park & Plaza and its many features since it was completed in 2007.

He said an urban park setting with so many moving parts and that hosts more than 60,000 people a year has unusual needs.

"We have learned over the years that there are items that need to be repaired and/or upgraded, Collins said. "In order to create an efficient and effective plan to make those needed repairs, we need to understand the root cause of systemic problems."

Collins said parks officials have asked the service department for assistance, specifically city engineer Karl Wetherholt. In addition, parks officials have been working with the city's legal counsel and the Worthington-based Archatas Inc. design firm to evaluate some of the challenges at Creekside that are believed to be from the initial construction.

Collins said work that needs repair includes steps at the front of Creekside.

"We've been working on this quite a long time," he said. "December is a great time to get in and do spot testing."

Wetherholt said it's an "exploratory project" to take a sample to see what's underneath.

The team would be led by forensics architect Jim Luckino, principal and owner of Archatas. He has expertise with large-scale public-service projects like Creekside.

Luckino and Archatas were recommended to Gahanna by partners at OHM (formerly Bird Houk).

Council member Karen Angelou asked if the testing would disturb visitors at Holiday Lights! events and activities.

"We'll work closely with the contractors to minimize the impact," Collins said. "We'll also work with (developer) Strathmore to make sure the tenants are aware. Testing will just take a week or two."

Council member Brandon Wright asked why December is a prime month for testing, considering cold temperatures and snow.

"It's a small-enough project that workers can fit it in," Wetherholt said. "If we can find out what's going on in December, then we can get an architect on board for design work for a solution and full-scale repairs in the spring."

Council member Stephen Renner asked if the testing in certain places would give a final result for all issues.

"This is just testing for an analysis of what's there," Collins said. "Then an architect would come in with a plan."

He said the majority of problems at Creekside likely are related to drainage at the site.

"Down the line, there may be other areas to investigate," Collins said.

Wetherholt said the intent is to correct what's causing the draining problems and to rebuild in a sustainable manner.

"Anything we do, we look for long-term rather than a short-term fix," Collins said.

He said it's the opinion of the city team, as well as consulting firms, that many of the issues are interconnected.

"The first challenge is to identify the core causes," Collins said. "Once the core issues are identified, a plan can be created to resolve the issues that include financial estimates and time lines."

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