On the evening of June 15, 14 people were injured, with two sent to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, after the deck of the Weaver House collapsed during an event hosted by the North Ottawa Community Health System.
The Weaver House is part of Pine Bend Park, of the Ottawa County Parks system.
Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Director John Scholtz said the deck will be rebuilt, but it’s still in the early stages.
“We have a structural engineer that’s looked at it but hasn’t given us anything definitive,” he said. “We just started to work with GMB (Architecture and Engineering) to get plans and get bids out. We want to put a new deck on as soon as possible.”
Scholtz said “it’s not like starting from scratch” with a new deck, and he hopes to have plans for it in the next few weeks.
The cost, he expects, should be between $20,000 and $30,000, but that will be paid through the parks department’s insurance. But because the deck and porch were built by the same contractor at the same time, there could be more to be done to the house itself.
“There might be something needed to shore up the foundation, as well,” Scholtz said. “That could raise the cost.”
Scholtz has concerns about what caused the collapse, as the deck was added onto the 100-year-old house in 2005.
“There will be more put out about what caused the problems,” he said. “It was only a 12-year-old deck, it shouldn’t have had problems that soon. We’re waiting on the official word from the structural engineer.”
The deck had 25-35 people on it at the time of the collapse and left a hole about 20 feet by 20 feet in the center of it. It didn’t collapse fully.
The deck is about 15 feet off the ground. Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Kempker said people did fall into the collapsed area, but no one became trapped.
Scholtz said he had no idea if the county would face legal action from those who were injured in the collapse, with corporation counsel Doug Van Essen handling those questions. Van Essen was unavailable for comment at press time.