Village buys sinkhole house

(Photo by Robert Ford)

(Photo by Robert Ford)

For sale: Small fixer-upper cottage. Perfect for someone handy with tools. Badly fractured foundation, damaged interior walls, and a sinkhole in the basement.

Not exactly the type of ad that would attract a lot of buyers, but in the case of the home at 472 South Main St., that wasn’t a problem. Because of extensive damage caused by a collapsed sewer line, the village has decided to purchase the home from the owner, the Stinemire family, for $92,000. The village will demolish the house and likely sell the property.

Village officials unearthed records showing a sewer line was constructed on the property in the early 1900s. The home wasn’t built until the 1930s. Everything was fine until a sinkhole opened up two months ago. The village knew it was liable and considered paying to fix the damage, but found it cheaper to purchase the property.

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Luckily, it has money at hand for just such a purpose. The village has an $800,000 federal grant and $1.1 million no-interest loan from the EPA to replace its aging sewer infrastructure. Of that, $150,000 is earmarked for property acquisition, and that’s what will be used to purchase the home.

The village still needs to fix the line, which serves a number of homes in the area. Funds from the grant/loan can be used for that too. A bypass line and pump have been installed, but the collapsed line needs to be replaced.

And as if that weren’t a tough job, apparently there are bears in the neighborhood.

Village Trustee Donald Hackett and Wastewater Department Superintendent Mike Marino recently walked the property to find the two manholes leading to the collapsed line.

“And we found bear tracks, big bear tracks,” Hackett said of the two men’s wilderness excursion. “Mike wanted to know what the tracks were and when I told him we got out of the woods quick.”

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