Florida condo collapse sparks building safety questions in Evanston

The collapse in late June of a 12-story oceanfront high-rise in Surfside, Florida, was more than a thousand miles from Evanston’s lake shore. But the horror of the event — one of the deadliest building collapses in American history — led some Evanston residents to wonder, “could this happen here?” Despite the extreme rarity of such an event, it has thrown the spotlight on Evanston’s building and zoning plans.

A “stream of residents” has notified the city of construction problems following the Florida collapse, said Johanna Nyden, director of the community development division for the City of Evanston. The city responds to such complaints by sending standard property inspectors to the sites and then continues to monitor the situations as appropriate.

The Community Development Department takes its responsibilities for assessing the design and construction of new buildings and assisting with the maintenance of existing buildings very seriously, Nyden said. The department is not only responsible for how new buildings are constructed, but also plays a vital role in preserving the existing building stock of older buildings for future generations.

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