Park City monitors raised houses after recent partial collapse in Old Town
November 6, 2015
Park City officials are monitoring each of the historic buildings that are currently atop some sort of shoring as they are renovated, an attempt to guard against another partial collapse like one that occurred recently on Park Avenue.
Bruce Erickson, the planning director at City Hall, said the Park City Building Department is leading the monitoring. He said there are approximately six such sites, each of them in Old Town. Erickson said the Building Department has not discovered issues. The department, though, is concerned about the length of time the buildings are atop the shoring, sometimes referred to as cribbing.
The monitoring is underway in the weeks after a partial collapse of a house at 923 Park Ave. The house was under renovation at the time of the partial collapse into the excavated space below. The house was left at an angle on wooden cribbing at a highly visible location along Park Avenue. An investigation into the cause is continuing.
Putting a historic house on cribbing of some sort is a popular method of renovation. The crews typically excavate the ground below the house, build a foundation and then place the historic house on the new foundation.
The partial collapse of the house at 923 Park Ave. triggered the City Hall investigation into that address as well as the monitoring of the other projects.
"We wanted to make sure that would not reoccur," Erickson said.
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One of the other projects that has attracted interest at City Hall is located at 1119 Park Ave., two blocks from the site of the partial collapse. The house at 1119 Park Ave. is currently raised on cribbing as work is underway on the renovation. It is also situated in a highly visible location.
The oldest part of the house at 1119 Park Ave. dates to approximately 1895, according to a City Hall report prepared as part of the municipal government’s inventory of historic sites. City Hall classified the house as a landmark site, attaching the most stringent protections to the property. The exterior was deemed to be in fair condition at the time of the 2008 report. The report noted peeling paint, roofing materials that were worn and "general disrepair."
The Park City Council on Thursday briefly spoke about the project at 1119 Park Ave. in an unscheduled discussion. Erickson told the elected officials there are concerns about a garage attached to the house.
Dick Peek, a City Councilor, appeared to be especially interested. Peek is a general contractor who has successfully lifted four historic houses in Old Town in order to build a foundation over a 20-year span.
In an interview, Peek said the operation at 1119 Park Ave. seems to be progressing as it should. He said he does not have detailed knowledge of the project but said he observed crisscrossed wooden cribbing with plywood outside the cribbing to ensure the walls remain standing. It seemed stable, he said.
"It appears to be the right way to do it," Peek said.
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