Perry Township man stuck in a sinkhole controversy

Published: Aug. 17, 2023 at 6:52 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A sinkhole in Perry Township is getting worse, and the homeowner fears there is no clear resolution in sight.

“The hole’s getting bigger, and I’m worried about the safety of my family,” said Bruce Mencer.

Mencer says the culvert, running under Roxbury Avenue, beneath his yard, and pouring out into the Sippo Lake, has caused problems since last summer.

When a sinkhole appeared, Mencer and his neighbor split the cost of the fix.

A new sinkhole appeared after heavy rain in July, which Mencer also fixed.

Now, a roughly 20-foot area of his yard is dropped off, and he is looking for a government agency to step in and fix the culvert.

“A fella from the township came out today and was doing some looking around, and he said it’s really obvious to him is what’s causing this is there are holes in the culvert,” said Mencer.

Mencer says the Township Trustees sent him to Stark County.

Stark County says the culvert is on personal property and is the responsibility of the homeowner, not the taxpayer.

Stark County officials offered another solution: a petition to the state for a fix to the culvert, which costs $1,500.

Mencer adds another issue of complication is part of the culvert running under the road.

He said the county told him that it falls back to the township.

“I asked the township what I needed to do to get this fixed, and they said contact this person at the county,” said Mencer. “The township says it’s the county; the county says it’s the township.”

Mencer adds that the Perry Township offered to foot the bill of the petition, but even that offers no immediate resolution to a problem he believes is dangerous right now.

He is concerned about the safety of his family and his neighbor.

He also has concerns about flooding if a collapse clogs the culvert, which acts as a drain for the entire neighborhood.

In addition, he also says kayakers often come from the lake, journeying up the culvert, which is now falling in on itself.

“All we really want to do is get this thing fixed so nobody gets hurt,” said Mencer.