Emergency work to begin next month in sinkhole-damaged neighborhood

The Community Development District 4 Board of Supervisors has unanimously voted to issue an emergency declaration so that a $1.4 million project can commence in the sinkhole-damaged neighborhood in the Village of Calumet Grove.

An overflow crowd of CDD 4 residents attended a special meeting on the topic Monday afternoon at Savannah Center.

Blair Bean, assistant director of District Property Management, said immediate work must begin as hurricane season will start June 1 and there could be a danger of flooding.

This photo taken by a drone recently shows the damage to McLawren Terrace and the two Village of Calumet Grove homes that were ravaged by sinkholes in February and May of last year.

To move the project along quickly, the emergency declaration allows CDD 4 to forego the normal request-for-proposal process. The $1.4 million project is to be awarded to Ciraco Underground Inc.

You can learn more about the entire project at this link: McLawren Project Presentation

Residents had numerous questions about a failed pipe surrounded by suspicion, the future of the two sinkhole-damaged homes, the Developer’s role in the debacle and the ultimate cost to them.

A pipe where a sinkhole opened up last year in the Village of Calumet Grove continues to be viewed with suspicion by residents.

“We’ve seen very little work at the two houses. I can see those houses collapsing,” said Suzanne Walters.

Residents had suggested that the houses be torn down and the property be left vacant.

Joan Annuzzi, of the Village of Chatham, called on the supervisors to “hold the Developer’s feet to the fire” and received a rowdy round of applause from the crowd.

“He’s buying half of Florida. This is a retirement community. Something has to be done to help us,” Annuzzi said.

Residents also expressed concerns about their driveways being torn up and losing access to their homes.

Last year, CDD 4 voted to increase by 20 percent the maintenance assessment rate paid by residents. The CDD 4 Board in a meeting earlier in the day, discussed the budget and agreed that the maintenance assessment rate will stay at the same level as last year.

CDD 4 Supervisor Don Deakin observed that residents will be living with that 20 percent for quite some time.