NL must inspect parking garage

New London Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio should order the immediate inspection of the parking garage at 70 Union St. owned by local businessman William Cornish.

As noted by Day news columnist David Collins in the June 22 edition, little appears to have changed with the garage since Mr. Cornish, then a member of the City Council, purchased it from the city for $206,000 in 2005. The city's motivation to sell the garage was its deplorable condition.

"Continued deterioration and eventual catastrophic structure failure can be expected unless steps are taken immediately to correct conditions identified," concluded a 2001 engineering report.

Among the conditions identified were deteriorated support beams that the 2001 report said needed "immediate attention." In 1995 wood beams had been propped into place to shore up the 1970 structure. They are still there.

At the city's request, Mr. Cornish paid for a follow-up inspection. It was not terribly reassuring.

"There is no fear it is going to collapse tomorrow," concluded engineer Elisha L. Gallup, president of the Winthrop Group of Gales Ferry in 2006. "I wouldn't want to give it 10 more years. It's got to be repaired, that's the bottom line," he told a reporter.

We called Mr. Cornish to ask what he has done since to repair the structure. He declined comment.

Mayor Finizio told us the city has extensive problems with old and deteriorating structures and promised the city would vigorously enforce inspection rules, and respond to citizen concerns, to protect public safety. He said he could not comment on the Union Street garage in particular, however, because he is only now learning of its history.

We're concerned, Mr. Mayor, and we suspect the public is as well. Inspect the garage.

The editorial board is composed of the publisher and four journalists of varied editing and reporting backgrounds. The board's discussions and information gained from its meetings with political, civic, and business leaders drive the institutional voice of The Day, as expressed in its editorials. The editorial department operates separately from the newsroom.


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