CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa- Workers at a downtown Cedar Rapids realty office got an unpleasant surprise last week. Many parked in the company parking lot found a strange film covering their cars. And work on a nearby city project is to blame.
Last Friday, May 23rd, workers were spray painting a skywalk above Fourth Street S.E. that connects a parkade to the U.S. Cellular Center complex. But wind blew some of the paint residue in the wrong direction. That mishap left a film on at least 58 vehicles parked next to the Skogman Commercial Real Estate Services office, 411 First Avenue S.E.
No one’s sure yet if other vehicles got some of the accidental overspray at the same time.
The skywalk getting painted on the 23rd is at least a quarter block from the Skogman parking lot. One employee, Tiffani Conrey, said no one was paying any attention to the painters at the time.
“We actually discovered it when some employees went to a carwash, noticed there was something on top that wasn’t coming off,” Conrey said.
Another Skogman realtor, Al Weaver, said he just got his car professionally detailed, parked it in the employee lot and got a surprise when he came out and rubbed his hand on the finish.
“It wasn’t smooth. It had little grit all over it and it bothered me for a couple of days because my wife had her car detailed too. I checked her car and it felt the same way,” Weaver said.
The overspray paint itself is difficult to see, especially on lighter-colored vehicles. But it feels a bit like light sandpaper when rubbed by hand.
One Skogman worker went to a body shop and discovered the problem was paint overspray and traced it to the skywalk work.
Rob Davis, Cedar Rapids engineering manager, said the city will make sure the contractor takes care of any damages.
“Our contract with the contractor requires insurance and they have that so the public should be protected in this case,” Davis said.
Davis said the contractor, Woodruff Construction of Iowa City, will refer any claims to an insurance company. The city isn’t sure how many vehicles, aside from those in the Skogman employee lot, got an accidental spray of paint.
Due to the large number of vehicles impacted at the Skogman offices, the insurance company hired Overspray Removal Specialists to fix the problem on site. The company will use a clay compound to remove the overspray and polish each vehicle. Workers will set up at the Skogman lot on Monday, June 2nd and remain on site for approximately three weeks. Anyone who parked in the area of First Avenue and Fourth Street S.E. on May 23rd can have a vehicle evaluated there to see if there is a possible claim from the accidental overspray.
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