MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. -- “Very dangerous, very scary.”
Behind a blue tarp-covered fence is a hole that keeps getting bigger. Sara Muzzoni uses the laundromat that’s 30 feet away once a week.
“No one’s done anything about them,” said Sara. “I’m afraid it’s going to get worse and come this way.”
One business owner says this large hole opened about a year ago at the Cortez Plaza East in Manatee County.
But it’s not the first. There are another three smaller shallow holes nearby that have been there for two years, says the owner of Plato’s Closet.
“Once the level is above the ditch, it floods here,” said Tim Higgs. He lives at Burgundy Condominiums off 5th Street on the east side of Cortez Plaza East.
Tim said the most recent larger hole near the ditch is causing flooding where he lives across the street
“Our chances of flooding are easier now then it was before,” said Tim. “I think it’s the sinkhole contributing to that same blockage over there, the water building up is not running through as quickly.”
The plaza is up for sale on loopnet.com but a price isn’t mentioned. We tried reaching the property owner Bradenton Associates LLC, the managing company Franklin Street, and the listing broker, but didn’t get a response.
Manatee County says Bradenton Associates, LLC was cited for not repairing the underground stormwater pipes and fines have already capped at 10-thousand dollars.
Manatee County Spokesperson Nick Azzara said since the pipes are on a privately-owned parking lot, the property owner is responsible for making repairs.
The county says the collapsing infrastructure creates a public health, safety, and welfare issue for pedestrians.
“If they (Bradenton Associates LLC) are the owners, they have a responsibility not only to customers in the plaza, but to surrounding areas people live there.”
Sara added, “Get off your duff and fix it!”
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