Building to the height of folly

City Commissioner Bruce Gordy was livid at the May 8 City Council meeting. It seems the city gave the go-ahead to a modification to build the Lincoln Building four stories taller than original plans indicated.

Trouble was, the police department hadn't signed off on the change. So nobody caught the fact that the new design for the building, which is next to City Hall, would block the police department's microwave shot to the southeast quadrant of the city. The microwave is important: It supplies the timing for the city's emergency-response system.

So the city has to spend $211,000 to move the police department's microwave, which currently sits on a tower near police headquarters on Hughey Avenue.

Gordy wanted to know who was responsible for the blunder. He added that the city missed its chance to negotiate with Lincoln contractors so they could share the cost of moving the microwave.

"It seems like this was a mistake on our part," Gordy said at the May 8 agenda meeting. "Should we not have known that this was going to happen?"

Richard Levey, the city's chief administrative officer, said that ultimately he was to blame for the mix-up.

Thomas Sorley, OPD's communications manager, assured that the building caused no interruption of service because the microwave shot had a back-up link.

He added that he didn't see plans for Lincoln's modification because he hadn't added comments to the original plans.

How will he ensure that the problem doesn't happen again? "We'll add comments to all the plans we see," he says.


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