TAKOMA PARK, MD—The Takoma Pork has confirmed
the City has hired an engineer from Venice, Italy to investigate whether the new Community Center is sinking.
Suspicion of sinkage
surfaced December 11 when participants leaving the Center’s Grand Opening told City Manager Barbara Matthews that the
street level exit on Carroll Avenue seemed to be slightly lower than the street itself.
“The gap was not there when we entered the building,” one participant said.
The residents spoke on
condition of anonymity. “Investigators need to determine whether the Community
Center is lower now than it was, or whether we were higher than we were when we entered the building. After all, we consumed
a great quantity of fruit juice during opening ceremonies—all organic, of course.”
hired Giuseppe Michelangelo to examine the Community Center’s foundation. He advises the city of Venice on coping with
structural problems caused by its gradual sinking.
Michelangelo is expected to arrive here the first week in February.
He told the Pork he
has completed a preliminary analysis based on computer simulations that indicate the Community Center might sink completely
underground by 2021.
“We knew we were
building on a flood plain,” said City Council member Marc Elrich,“ and we met county requirements for erections
in such situations.”
“Whenever you build without fully taking into account the environment, you engage in a necessarily
losing battle with nature – in this case the water flowing underground to and from Sligo Creek,” said Dan Robinson
of Sustainable Takoma.
Council member Bruce
Williams, official liaison to the public on Community Center matters, speculated that the center’s lowering was caused
by the weight of the crowd attending the Grand Opening. “Ordinarily, not that many people come to City Hall, so that
I doubt there will be any further sinking. In fact, the building will probably just pop back up on its own,” said Williams. “All the hot air in the council chambers might help keep it afloat.”
probably a self-solving problem,” Elrich said. “With the community center underground, we can sell the surface
land to developers. By that time, real estate in Takoma Park is sure to reach a million dollars a square inch. By selling
the land to developers, we can get out of the hole we created by building the center.”
The Pork asked Elrich how the City will be able to afford the Venice engineer.
He replied, “We’ll float a bond.”