By Brian Livingston / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
Since February, a hole in the parking lot of Elsie Gray's business on Fifth Street has gotten bigger and deeper.
The hole is big enough to hide a full size pickup truck. Gray, who owns Shirley's Curb Mart at 4907 Fifth Street, has lost a portion of her parking lot as a result of the sinkhole. The problem started after a rain, she said.
"The culvert is not doing its job and it created a whirlpool that started to eat away at the dirt," Gray said. "The hole has just gotten bigger as time has gone by."
Gray has owned the business for 37 years and this is the first time anything like this has happened. She said she has talked to city officials and Jesse Palmer, who is the city councilman over Ward 4 in which Gray's store is located.
"Jesse and I have talked about it and I've also been in contact with the city officials," Gray said. "They are going to do something about this. I'm confident of that."
After talking with Meridian Mayor Cheri Barry it was discovered there is litigation ongoing between Gray's attorney and city officials over the sinkhole. Barry said she could not comment on the sinkhole because of the litigation but she did say something could be worked out.
Gray said the sinkhole is on her property but added it was the city's culvert that started to leak and caused the problem. Gray made it clear that despite her attorney becoming involved, she does not see this as an issue of "her versus the city."
"I feel good after talking with the city officials about this getting fixed," Gray said. "I hold no animosity. I'm not mad at anyone. I just see this as something we can work out in some way so I'm not really worried about it, really."
After Barry consulted with Monty Jackson, director of the city of Meridian Public Works Department, she said there are no other major problems with sinkholes of this magnitude anywhere else in the city. She did say there are ongoing areas of concern.
"I urge the citizens of Meridian that if they see something they deem a growing problem to get in contact with us so we can address it quickly," Barry said.