More millions to be spent on Milwaukee's City Hall

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by WDJT Editor

MILWAUKEE- On Wednesday the Milwaukee Common Council met to discuss issues with city hall.

Last February, after three years of renovations in 2008, the building began to fall apart.

Three five-pound pieces of the building's terra cotta broke off, prompting an on-going investigation that is now approaching the one million dollar price tag.

What they found was a flaw in some of the grout used in the terra cotta that is unable to handle the freeze-thaw cycle during the winter in the city, creating cracks in the historical building.

"When I'm sitting in my rocking chair, looking back on my time as an alderman, this might be the most disappointing thing during my tenure," Joe Dudzik, Alderman 11th District, said.

Estimates show that to just fix 500 distressed units of the building will cost $9 million and it just keeps going up from there. It would be another $11 million for 3,500 units, and $15 million for 6,500 units.

"We don't know who is to blame right now, but we want to get the building we paid for," Alderman Bob Bauman, 4th District, said.

CBS 58 contacted JP Cullen & Sons, the company who helped complete more than 13,000 terra cotta units on the historic building in 2008.

They wouldn't talk to us on the phone but did send this statement.

"J.P. Cullen & Sons, Inc. is still reviewing the contents of the Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. (WJE) report entitled Milwaukee City Hall Evaluation of Cracking in Terra Cotta. The report's conclusions are preliminary and there is a need for further investigation. The process to attach the terra cotta units was meticulous and detailed. The investigation into the cracks that appeared in the terra cotta also needs to be thorough.

"It is important to have all of the facts and best information available in order to make a determination on this issue," said David J. Cullen, President and CEO of J.P. Cullen & Sons, Inc.

"The preliminary report indicates, consistent with our own initial examination, that J.P. Cullen & Sons, Inc. met the specifications outlined for this project," added Cullen.

J.P. Cullen and Sons, Inc. is the prime contractor that completed the restoration of more than 13,000 terra cotta units on the historic building in 2008. In February of 2011, three five pound pieces of terra cotta fell from the building to the sidewalk. There were no injuries and minor damage to one vehicle. Since then J.P. Cullen & Sons, Inc. has worked cooperatively with the City to assess the condition of terra cotta units, protect the public from any potential harm, and determine the best means to permanently restore the terra cotta to the historic structure."

The investigation into city hall will continues and the Common Council should have more answers in the spring time.

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