KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- For almost a year, people who live near 85th and Holmes have wondered, “When’s the Save-A-Lot grocery store coming back?”
They asked KCTV5’s Betsy Webster just that when she approached them at a neighboring beauty shop and apartment complex.
They didn’t want to go on camera and didn’t like the answer, either: “Likely never.”
The reason? A sinkhole. Now, the owners of the property are suing the city over it.
The lawsuit says the ground collapsed in April. Structural engineers told the owners there was “a void under the foundation.” The danger was imminent, so they left pronto.
The lawsuit says, “At one point, the odor associated with rotting product and rodents was severe.” It also said, “It was too dangerous to enter the building, even to clean up the wretched mess.”
By May, the city acknowledged “the failure of a storm sewer line” was to blame. The lawyer who filed the suit said the city soon after agreed to pay to demolish the building. Yet, here it is almost a year later.
The suit says homeless people have broken in, looted, set up camp, and once even started a fire. Each time, the owners’ lawyer said, the owners are fined.
He said until the city gets around to demolishing the building, they are going to be dealing with the same bind. The property owners will be boarding up places were people broke in. They will be broken into again.
They will put fencing up to keep people from getting into that sinkhole but, like what Webster saw on Friday, two spaces are there that allow someone to go in. He said he just hopes this gets accomplished before someone gets hurt or killed.
The city said it’s slated for demolition at the start of March now that the process of carefully removing any asbestos and lead paint has concluded.
However, the suit says the city wants to tear open a huge swath of storm sewer and “daylight” it. That means essentially replace it with concrete as an open canal, which the suit claims will make it practically impossible to rebuild a store of sufficient size to resurrect a discount grocer on the corner.
We asked KC Water Services about the situation and they gave this written statement: “Unfortunately, what happened at 85th and Holmes last year was an infrastructure failure. It illustrates why investment in our underground pipes is so very important. KC Water has projects going on all over the city to maintain, repair and improve our water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure. We understand a lawsuit has been filed. We are unable to comment on any pending litigation.”