ROCKFORD - A large hole now exists in the center of the Water Street parking deck after an 18-inch-by-12-foot block of cement and metal wiring collapsed Tuesday.
“We had a portion of the deck, on waterside, which is our City Market side, collapse,” says Tim Hanson, Director of Rockford Public Works.
Chunks of cement and debris fell off of the decaying deck and onto Jason Augsburger's Nissan Cube that was parked in the garage while he was inside at work. “I noticed it was a light fixture and ...a slab of concrete on my car, so I immediately did not get any closer to it and I called the city,” says Augsburger.
The debris caused major damage to the hood of his vehicle. No one was injured from the parking garage collapse, but the 30-year-old, worn out parking garage was supposed to be demolished in May. The City pushed the date back so the City Market could use the facility.
After the collapse, it is now it is a top priority for Public Works to remove the structure. “We have a hole in [the parking deck] right now, so we are going to close it down and we will move forward to an emergency demolition of this deck,” says Hanson.
Augsberger says he has noticed damage to the structure for years. “It is obviously just dilapidated and something needed to be done. It could have been sooner,” he says.
The Rockford City Market usually has vendors and a live performance on the parking deck every Friday, but with the structure falling apart, they will choose a new location.
Cathy McDermott of the Rockford City Market says the weekly event will not be canceled. “Right away, we started thinking about how we could relocate people for this Friday and how the market can go on," she says. "I'm confident that we can figure it all out, it will just take a little work.”