Residents in the city’s Historic Fruit Belt have become increasingly concerned about, what they say are sinkholes in their neighborhood.
Terine Kimble has been living on Orange Street for about 8 years, and for many of those years, she’s been dodging a hole at the end of her driveway.
“My grandkids, they can’t even come out and play because, I’m scared they’re going to fall in the hole and get hurt,“ said Kimble. “It’s been a lot.“
The hole at the edge of Kimble’s driveway has since been patched-up by the city, but residents say there are others speckled throughout the neighborhood that are cause for concern.
The Buffalo Common Council has set aside funding to hire a person who will look at sinkholes and other street and sidewalk imperfections.
“What we found out is that we do have sinkholes around the city, we do have an exorbitant amount in the Fruitbelt area,“ said Darius Pridgen, Buffalo Common Council President. “And, instead of patching it, or covering it without knowing what’s the root cause, we will just continue to have the same problems.“
Pridgen says there will also be a study conducted, to address the severity of the issue.
“Some are not sinkholes, some are caused by mother nature, others are caused by utilities and some may indeed be the fault of the city,“ said Pridgen. “Whoever’s fault it is, it’s not important to me. What is important to me is making sure it’s taken care of.”
Residents feel that the study and the new position is a good step forward.
“I think it’s definitely a start, because it opens up the conversation,“ said Dennice Barr, president of the Fruitbelt advisory council. “It gives it a sense of reality. Whereas all of this time, it’s been speculation- maybe it’s a sinkhole, maybe it’s something else. When you really begin to give it validity and talk about it, in a sense that this is an actual problem, then yeah, we’ll begin to work on the issue.”
One of the possible causes for this issue are the aging water lines in the city. The city’s Public Works Commissioner Mike Finn says it can cause structural weakness in the streets and yards.
“We’ve been investigating all of the cases within the past couple of weeks, I’ve had our team go and survey all the locations everything in this area,“ Finn said.
Pridgen says, the new position will have the freedom to look at issues with the roads as well as suspected sinkholes and land depressions in people’s yards. The city says it will look to fill the position in July.