Pricy parking garage springs a leak

July 30, 2008 4:15:55 PM PDT
There could be a problem just below one of Houston's favorite new downtown spots. The multi-million dollar parking garage below Discovery Green has sprung a leak. The new park in the heart of downtown is the pride of several city leaders, but what's just below the park could be an expensive mistake. The simple answer for now is that city leaders simply don't know if they've got a serious problem on their hands, or a minor nuisance.

The water playground is one of the most popular spots at Discovery Green. While getting wet is part of the fun above ground, what's happening just underneath Discovery could be a major problem.

"I haven't heard anything about the garage," said park visitor Don White. "First time I'm down here."

To put it simply, the brand new, $21 million parking garage right below the park leaks. The garage is a crucial component of the $120 million Discovery Green Park. This potential problem was brought to light by a city council member, who because of the sensitive nature of this issue, wouldn't speak to us on camera.

Discovery Green Park Director Guy Hagstatte says the dripping and potential rusting are being looked into.

"We're absolutely investigating everything," he said.

The leaking has certainly gotten the city's attention. It's even hired an outside firm to find out what went wrong with the parking garage. Right now all anyone can tell Eyewitness News is that there definitely is a problem.

"There were concerns expressed, and this was early in the year," Hagstatte said. "The city felt the best way to address those concerns was to get someone outside the process to come in and take an objective look at it."

Hagstatte points this most garages have some water, and this particular garage was designed to be damp. So while the city investigates whether the water underground could lead to bigger problems, above ground, no one seems to notice.

"I wasn't aware of that," said park visitor Raquel Rodriguez. "I wasn't even aware that there was a garage."

Meanwhile, things are business as usual at Discovery Green, but there a lot of people investigating the potential problem.

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