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Omaha renters and stall owners raise concerns of downtown parking garage

Omaha renters and stall owners raise concerns of downtown parking garage

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – The deadly collapse of a condo building this past summer draws more attention to cracks and erosion in all large structures.

Some stall owners and renters in a downtown Omaha parking garage are worried by what they see.

Thirty-three Regis condo owners bought or leased parking spaces right next door and emergency shoring in the garage has ramped up visions of someplace else.

“When I see this it instantly makes me think of that condo collapse in Miami. There are chunks of the structure missing there are these support beams that have been here for months. It’s absolutely terrifying, yeah,” said Dr. Patricia Zematic, Parking Stall Lessee.

The garage is managed by a board that hired an engineer who issued a report. It states, “the parking facility is in fair condition but requires repair soon to maintain a safe facility.”

“I even a little afraid to be standing here right now, to be honest,” said Zematic.

Dust-catching plastic is being installed as the estimated $500,000 repair project starts Monday. Deteriorated areas of a lower ramp are just part of revitalizing the 220 stall concrete garage.

More issues can be seen two floors up.

Some residents are concerts these cracks are a warning sign of worse things to come and they want expert input to tell them if the money paid for repairs will be enough.

Parking stall owner Gail Swedish says a second opinion from another engineer and a city inspection would help ease her concerns.

“I’d be worried of parking here even after they do their supposed fixes. Until I know it’s going to fix the cause and not just the issue,” said Swedish.

The structural repairs require a permit so the city will inspect. A businessman who leases 84 stalls says he had his own structural engineer examine the garage and he doesn’t have concerns.

Even the board member supervising repairs says based on the engineers’ report he wouldn’t be afraid to park there. But these two long-term parkers remain apprehensive.

“This is just what we can see. So, what are the other structural parts look like that we can’t see,” said Zematic.

Though a convenience to park close to home in downtown Omaha because of what they see in the garage, their thoughts of Miami are also never far away.

The garage will be closed for five weeks to fix the ramp so stall holders must find other parking. Repairs throughout the garage are expected to take up to four months.

The estimated $500,000 cost will be divided up and passed onto the parking space renters and owners.

I am satisfied that measures are being taken to correct the deficiencies and restrict the use of the facility so that it can be utilized as a safe structure once again.

I am hopeful that the owners will continue to properly maintain the structure going forward.

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