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Chicago Building Owners May Be Keeping Scaffolding Up Longer Than Necessary

Scaffolding wraps around the front of Chicago's iconic Wrigley Building. (CBS)

Scaffolding wraps around the front of Chicago’s iconic Wrigley Building. (CBS)

Mike Parker Mike Parker
Mike Parker has been a general assignment reporter for CBS 2 Chicago...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — It may not merely seem as if there is more scaffolding in place around Chicago buildings these days, making life miserable for pedestrians. It may be a fact.

CBS 2’s Mike Parker shows us some of the reasons.

Outside the historic Wrigley Building, designers have decorated for the Christmas season. But look closely. It’s a series of canopies and scaffolding to make way for heavy-duty repair to the façade above.

For pedestrians, it is still something of a maze to get through the support structures.  It’s like that all over the central city these days. There seems to be scaffolding everywhere you look.

“I find it inconvenient – also dangerous, especially in light of the inclement weather,” Nancy Lagoutsaky says of navigating through the sidewalks below the scaffolds.

There may be a reason for all this stuff, says Tom Trinen.  His company, Service One, installs the protective canopies and scaffolds.

“You’ve got a lot of properties that can’t afford to do the maintenance or the repairs.”

The suggestion: Sometimes it’s cheaper to leave the scaffolding up.

“That’s sometimes what ends up happening,” Trinen says.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants that to end.

“I expect us to make sure the scaffolding is there, so there’s – God forbid – no problem. But I also expect them not to use it as an excuse not to do the work they’re supposed to do on their buildings,” Emanuel said Monday.

Not every building with scaffolding is trying to skate by, but those who are, Emanuel promises, will be hearing from the Chicago Building Department.