Memphis woman frustrated with growing sinkhole in front yard

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A large sinkhole is transforming a Nutbush woman’s front yard into a major liability.

Kay Newman wants her yard on Westover Avenue fixed, but it may not be her problem.

“It’s scary,” Newman said.

A city crew put barricades around the hole Wednesday afternoon after WREG started asking questions about the issue.

City representatives said who gets the responsibility to fix the sinkhole depends on what’s causing the problem, and in the end, the homeowner could be left with very large bill.

The sinkhole is so frightening that Newman won’t let her 2-year-old granddaughter play on the grass.

“I mean, you never know, that ground could sink right in, and she could go out of sight,” Newman said.

Newman said it was just a small hole several months ago, but when it started to get bigger, she asked her neighbor for help.

Her neighbor said he’s been calling the city about the hole ever since, but officials said the only complaint on record was made Wednesday. Either way, the problem isn’t fixed. Instead, it’s getting worse.

“It’s rapidly getting bigger and bigger,” Newman said.

The hole is so big that it’s eroding ground underneath the sidewalk.

“It’s doubled in size in the last three or four weeks,” Newman said.

The city started investigating the issue after WREG asked about it Wednesday afternoon.

Officials said the sinkhole could be caused by a broken city water line or by something on Newman’s property that doesn’t belong to the city. If that’s the case, they said she would be on the hook for repairs, including damage to the sidewalk.

“I mean, I’m not trying to get somebody to fix this if it’s my responsibility, but see, that’s what I want to find out,” Newman said.

In the meantime, Newman waits and wonders if she’s going to have to shell out what she figures would be thousands of dollars.

“And it’s making me crazy,” Newman said.

There’s also a third possibility. Because the city said the problem could be coming from a broken MLGW line, that would make the repairs MLGW’s responsibility.

Whatever the answer is, Newman said she’ll accept it.

“I’m an honest person,” Newman said. “I mean, if I got to fix it, I will fix it, but I want it fixed.”

City officials said they should know what’s causing this sinkhole by Thursday, then they’ll know who carries the responsibility for repairs. WREG will update this story with that information when it becomes available.

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