City Hall Sinking In Central Florida Town

OCOEE, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – You can’t fight City Hall…but maybe you can sink it.

That’s the problem facing the town of Ocoee, reports Orlando Sentinel, which placed their two-story building on the shore of Starke Lake 20 years ago.

Picturesque, yes, but, unfortunately, the engineers misjudged the solidity of the ground.

Concrete porch columns have shifted and must be braced to prevent more damage. The front entrance has slanted like a wheelchair ramp.

The building’s large front porch is breaking away from the City Hall building, leaving a four inch gap between the structures.

Public Works Director Steve Krug says it could cost a million dollars to stabilize the building, a cost that is causing city leaders to consider relocating. “There’s no easy or inexpensive fix,” he said.

Krug says the original builders used land that was not well suited for a large structure.

“The original site contained a lot of muck and peat, which is not very good for building things on,” he said. “The original contractors tried to ‘de-muck’ the property and backfill the site. Like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, they probably thought they were building on solid ground at that point.”

Mayor Scott Vandergrift’s office is located in part of the building that has settled about 3 inches into the muck.

“Maybe included in the estimate are water wings for me,” he joked. “Of course, some people might say, ‘Let it go. It’s just the mayor’s office.'”

City leaders will meet next month to consider whether to fix the old building or commission a new one.

“I have a concern that we’re just putting a Band-Aid on something that’s going to be a money pit,” Commissioner Rosemary Wilsen said.

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