Sinkhole forms on state Route 4 in Mechanicsburg


MECHANICSBURG – A sinkhole that recently formed in the heart of downtown led to an unexpected discovery and expense, Village Council learned on Monday.

Village Administrator April Huggins-Davis said that within the past two weeks, a sinkhole 4 to 6 feet deep developed in front of 5 W. Sandusky St., near the intersection with Main Street.

Wiseman & Sons Inc. was called out to excavate the area and discovered what Huggins-Davis described as a “tank made of bricks with a rounded end” that stretched some 36 feet.

“It was an old fire well used back before the village had a water system,” she added. “We had no idea it was there.”

In order to prevent the section of road from continuing to sink, Huggins-Davis said, the decision was made to fill it with cement.

To cover the unforeseen charges associated with fixing the sinkhole, council passed a motion approving up to $8,200 for all necessary excavating and roadwork repairs needed for that particular section of West Sandusky Street.

In a separate matter involving street repairs, Huggins-Davis informed council that according to an estimate provided by the village’s engineering consultant, John Grosse, the project to rehab parts of Walnut Street, Park Avenue and Pleasant Street will cost $68,832.94, which will be paid through the village’s share of the county’s permissive tax. In April, Mayor Greg Kimball informed council the village’s permissive tax account had a balance of $120,000.

“Once the (Champaign County commissioners) approve it, we will put the project out to bid,” Huggins-Davis said. “Hopefully, we will get some bids before the weather gets bad this year.”

In other business:

•Several no parking signs have been purchased and will be placed on Park Avenue by the high school baseball diamond, Huggins-Davis said.

In May, Kimball said, individuals were parking on Park Avenue between the baseball diamond and Main Street, which created a traffic issue.

•Council was informed that Police Chief John Alexander and Huggins-Davis have been in talks with officials at the Tri-County Regional Jail in regards to the possibility of the jail providing the village with a couple individuals to help with leaf pickup in October and November.

“We would only have to go get them the days we are doing the leaves,” Huggins-Davis said.

Council discussed at its last meeting the possibility of hiring part-time seasonal help, but Huggins-Davis said the goal is to try to work something out with jail officials since the village doesn’t have any language in its payroll ordinance pertaining to part-time seasonal help.

•Fire Chief Bob Keene thanked the Norwich Township Fire Department, which serves the Hilliard area, for donating some of its SCBAs (self-contained breathing apparatuses) or air packs to Mechanicsburg Fire & EMS.

Citing his desire to pay it forward, Keene asked for council’s permission to donate 11 of the department’s old SCBAs to the Union Township Fire Department in Milford Center. Council approved Keene’s request by passing a motion.

•With Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools starting classes on Wednesday, Aug. 26, Alexander asked residents to be mindful of students and to slow down when driving through school zones.

•Residents were informed that Beggars Night will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 31.

By Joshua Keeran

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Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.

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