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updated: 8/17/2011 6:34 PM

Alderman: Des Plaines library may have water damage

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Des Plaines city officials are investigating whether apparent water damage at the municipal library could end up needing a costly fix.

Des Plaines 6th Ward Alderman Mark Walsten alerted city aldermen to a potential problem of water intrusion from inside the city-owned parking garage attached to the library building at 1501 Ellinwood St., during Monday night's city council meeting.

Walsten, a home inspector by profession, said he noticed the water damage along the south side of the library's exterior wall during a recent visit and showed council members pictures he had taken.

"This may be due to failed flashings or something else but it must be addressed to prevent possible severe damage to the wall," he said. "I suggest inspection by qualified masonry restoration contractors. This should by repaired before winter as freezing temperatures may cause severe damage to the wall."

If ignored, the fix could be costly as there is the potential for mold developing, he said.

Acting City Manager Jason Slowinski said he would have staff investigate the matter further.

The municipal library leases the building from the city, which has to sign off on the library's yearly expenditures.

"We're responsible for the interior of the building, and the city actually is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the exterior of the building according to the lease," Library Director Holly Sorensen said.

Sorensen said library staff had noticed discoloration on the outside of the building and thought it was due to a metal decorative piece that runs around the top of the structure.

Sorensen said every time it rains, water runs down the sides of the building and the south side stays wet because it doesn't get any sunlight.

"It was just unsightly," Sorensen said. "We were under the impression that it was cosmetic. We were already pursuing the city about getting that cleaned. We're not really sure if it's water damage or not."