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Published: Sunday, 4/20/2008

Park service looks to repair damaged Perry s Monument on South Bass Island


PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio The Perry s Victory and International Peace Memorial, which closed for several months in 2006 when a 500-pound chunk of stone broke off the observation deck, needs a more effective waterproofing system to prevent further deterioration, an architectural firm said.

Engineers found a second loose piece on the 352-foot granite memorial in July 2006, a month after the first piece fell 300 feet to the ground.

The monument could crumble in the next 10 years if permanent repairs aren t done, said Kathy Schneider, chief engineer of construction management for the National Park Service s Midwest Region.

Park service assessments over the last two years found that years of water penetration have weakened the monument s concrete, park service documents showed. Also, freeze and thaw temperatures have expanded the concrete, which has created cracked and dislocated granite panels.

Construction crews installed temporary waterproofing last summer, but a stronger system is needed, according to architectural and engineering firm Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates. Other repairs to the concrete structure are also required, the park service said.

The agency requested $5.1 million to repair the monument over three years, and that funding was included in the Bush administration s proposed federal budget now before Congress.

The monument on South Bass Island is one of Lake Erie s most recognizable sights. It opened in 1915 to commemorate Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry s victory over the British in the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813 during the War of 1812.

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