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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Deteriorating wall threatens Moline graves - Quad Cities Online

Deteriorating wall threatens Moline graves - Quad Cities Online:

Deteriorating wall threatens Moline graves

Originally Posted Online: May 21, 2012, 6:46 pm
Last Updated: May 21, 2012, 6:52 pm
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By Dawn Neuses,
MOLINE -- A 138-year-old retaining wall in Moline's Riverside Cemetery is falling down, allowing the hillside above -- which holds graves -- to break away in places. Terraces below and near the wall also are eroding.

Waiting until the wall gives way would cost more to fix than fixing it before that happens, cemetery manager Todd Slater said, adding that, if the hillside gives way, it could affect adjacent burial sites.

On Tuesday night, Moline city engineer Scott Hinton is scheduled to give the committee of the whole a presentation on the wall, which was built in 1874.

He said the wall is made of limestone blocks stacked three high, and each block is about 1-by-3 feet and weighs about 500 pounds.

The wall is supposed to support the hill, but age has weakened it. Mr. Slater said the deterioration has been noticeably under way since he started with the city in 1991.

The wall follows a curving road that is closed to the public but used as a maintenance road. Some blocks have fallen, and, in two places, entire sections of the wall have washed out.

Mr. Slater said former park and recreation director Milt Hand had an engineering firm look at the wall in 2000 and sought bids for replacing it after the firm said it couldn't be repaired. However, the parks department couldn't afford the more than $200,000 cost, Mr. Slater said.

On July 4, 2007, a 3-inch overnight rain caused the northern terrace of the cemetery -- across the road from the retaining wall -- to give way, filling the nearby city swiming pool with mud, closing it for two days. Mr. Slater said there is a risk of continued erosion on that terrace, as well as the eastern terrace in the same area.

Mr. Hinton said the city's Capital Improvement Program this year started including funding specifically for retaining wall projects on city right-of-way. However, the money is not meant for park projects, he said.

The parks department receives general fund revenue each year to operate the department and address maintenance. However, the department operates separately from the city and is governed by a park board.

The committee-of-the-whole meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. on the second floor of city hall, 619 16th St. The city council meeting immediately follows.

Agendas are available at city hall or

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