Surprise! Chronicle Times sidewalk void discovered

Friday, May 20, 2022

IDOT and City contractors working on the downtown Highway 59 curb, storm sewer and sidewalk portion of the job sunk to new depths Saturday afternoon when digging uncovered an unknown void under the sidewalk in front of the Chronicle Times building.

Unbeknownst to workers, the newspaper building’s unused north basement room extended out under the sidewalk and dirt, sand and concrete fell into the void as it was uncovered.

The old newspaper press was located in that portion of the basement and extended into the void. That press room hasn’t been used and seldom entered for over 40 years. “Had we been asked, we would have told somebody,” said long-time CT Editor Paul Struck. “There are similar voids in the downtown area and some were filled a few years ago by a City initiative.”

In 2016 the City undertook a downtown CDBG facade program including some voids were identified and filled in, with the City and property owner sharing the cost. What that share equaled is unknown at this time as a check with City Administrator Eric List, and City Hall. could not turn up any information on the matter. The City could not explain why the void was not reported or discovered during the 2016 void project. The new building owners were unaware and the former owners/management obviously weren’t advised or else ignored it.

List told the ChronicleTimes Tuesday that he thought the property owner was responsible to block ip the interior wall and the City responsible for the fill. The sidewalk replacement involves an assessment against the property owner.

The wall was blocked up Monday and the void filled in, and the sidewalk will be poured as part of the City’s $400,000 curb, storm sewer, sidewalk repair and upgrade now under way.

The work’s being done in conjunction with the DOT’s $2.9 million Highway 59 milling, doweling, and spot resurfacing project also under way, with completion expected in mid August. That project runs from Linden Street south to the Iowa Highway 3 by-pass Jct. to the north.

Area shoppers, R-E-L-A-X. There is front door access to all Cherokee businesses and two-way traffic lanes are open in all directions.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: