Calumet Grove residents shaken as four new sinkholes open in neighborhood

Calumet Grove residents were on edge Monday morning – the second time in three months – when new sinkholes opened up in their neighborhood in The Villages.

The sinkholes, on SE 79th McLawren Terrace, were reported at about 9:30 a.m. when a neighbor saw a large depression that had taken out part of the roadway and portions of two front yards. Two other sinkholes opened up in those yards and a fourth re-opened underneath the adjoining lake on the golf course behind the homes.

Frank Neumann, whose Calumet Grove home was damaged by sinkholes in February, was busy surveying the area Monday.

According to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, the largest sinkhole is near one of the homes that was evacuated in February and no one else had been evacuated Monday.
Officials with State Emergency Management, The Villages and Marion County have been notified are continuing to monitor the sinkhole activity in the neighborhood, the sheriff’s department said.

Community Development District 4 Supervisor Don Deakin, who hosted a meeting in March at the Mulberry Grove Recreation Center with about 200 concerned residents, was checking out the damage on McLawren Terrace Monday. He said he’s extremely concerned about the sinkholes and how they’re affecting residents in his district.

Community Development District 4 Supervisor Don Deakin, left, who hosted a meeting in March at the Mulberry Grove Recreation Center with about 200 worried residents, said he’s extremely concerned about the sinkholes and how they’re affecting residents in his district.

Resident Frank Neumann, whose home at 17086 SE 79TH McLawren Terrace was damaged by sinkholes in February, also was busy surveying the area Monday alongside an engineer he brought in. Neumann hasn’t been able to live in his damaged home, which backs up to the Torri Pines golf course, since the sinkhole activity started two months ago.

In April, Neumann said his insurance company wants him to repair his swimming pool.

“I would never feel safe in a six-feet deep pool,” he said.

In April, Marion County Building Safety officials said Doris Morrell also was told that her home at 17092 SE 79th McLawren Terrace is “a wash.” Her insurance company informed her that it would need to be demolished and rebuilt.

“It is up to the homeowner to receive the money and do something with it or continue to fight with the insurance company,” Doug Newbanks, of Marion County Building Safety, said.

A pipe at a lake near the location of the new sinkholes is believed to have failed Saturday morning.

Morrell apparently was contacted by contractors who buy up sinkhole-damaged homes.

In April, resident Marilyn Triccio said it’s been a nerve-wracking time for her and her neighbors. “Every time it rains, I am waiting for the sinkhole to open up,” she said. “And I watch that house sitting there and sinking.”

Monday’s round of sinkhole activity certainly didn’t ease the fears of anyone living on McLawren Terrace. In fact, one homeowner who lives nearby and didn’t want to give her name, said she’s extremely afraid of what the future might hold for her and other retirees when it comes to sinkhole activity.