City Council to consider three options with the future of St. Julian Devine Chimneys during Tuesday meeting

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The future of the St. Julian Devine Chimneys is up for dicussion during Tuesday night’s Charleston City Council meeting.

In August, Bennet Engineering sent a letter to the city that the condition of the current smokestacks poses a public safety risk to the surrounding communities. According to City Council’s agenda, Bennet Engineering has been working with the city for years looking at ways to make the chimneys safe for the surrounding neighborhood. The letter says, “The hurricanes that the city has had to deal with during that time have made the work more urgent.”

On Tuesday, City Council will consider three options when talking about how to move forward with the future of the smokestacks to minize public safety risk.

Edmund Most, Deputy Director of Parks Department for the City of Charleston said the first option would be a full preservation of both the smokestacks.

“That would include re-pointing in the brickwork, which is the mortar joints. They erode over time. Spall repair, which is cracks in the bricks and in the mortar, it’s repairing those,” Most said. “It would also include the removal of the planter at the base and spall repairs for steel lentils where the original firebox is.”

Most said the lentils would be cut out, painted, replaced and whatever else the engineer required. But it would be extensive work on the inside of the chimney as well.

“So, we have two brick layers, essentially. We have an outer-shell of brick, and then we have an inner liner of brick. “

Most said the current engineer that’s under contract was working on a cost-effective, safe way to secure the inner liner brick to the outer shell to give it, “better structural integrity.”

That first option would cost approximately $3-million dollars.

The second option on the table includes a partial removal, or a reduction in the height of the two structures. This would transform the 135-foot stacks into approximately 60-foot structures.

“There would be two new covers, or steel caps put on them so that rain and the environment can’t get to the inside of it,” Most said. “It would be a full preservation of everything else that’s remaining.”

Everything that Most discussed in the first option would then apply to what is left of the remaining stacks, just at a reduced height. This would cost more thatn $2-million dollars.

The final option City Council will consider would be a removal of both smokestacks in their entirety. This would cost around $575-thousand dollars for the total disassembly.

City Council will discuss these options when they meeting Tuesday night at 5 p.m.

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