By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO July 20, 2001 When Eckerd Drugs in Monticello first built its Broadway store in 1997, concerns were raised over a retaining wall behind it. The wall was built to keep water and other material from coming down on a cottage and a house below it on Spring Street.
Since then, the wall has crumbled three times.
On Tuesday, July 17, it became four times. Around 8:30 p.m., Monticello firefighters were called because a 20-foot-wide section of the 24-foot-high wall came down. There is only about 25 feet between the wall and the homes. Luckily, there was no resulting damage, and no one was hurt.
The firefighters were aided by the Mechnicstown firefighters, who have training in handling collapses. The companies obtained chainlink fence and wired it around the spot to prevent any further spillage although bits of rock were still periodically raining down yesterday.
"We are not sure why part of the wall came down, but we are investigating," Village of Monticello Building Inspector James Artale commented. "There is no imminent danger. We want to get it fixed before any precipitation comes."
Eckerd closed the store after the wall came down. They reopened the next day, but the drive-thru is closed until the wall is fixed. Eckerd found lodging for the residents of the houses on Spring Street at the Econo Lodge and the Ramada Inn.
"As a responsible corporate citizen, one of Eckerds primary concerns is providing a safe shopping environment for our customers as well as a safe working environment for our associates," remarked Manager of Public Relations Tami Alderman. "Currently, only the pharmacy is functioning, and customers can continue to obtain their prescription medications as we await the engineers' assessment. We hope to return to our normal operating hours later this week."
The company's engineers are working with Artale to fix the wall. All involved estimate that it should take about a week. Their biggest concern is that, if it rains, more of the wall could come down thus the speed with which they are proceeding.