Sinkhole worries Glen Park woman, but it may be hers to fix
By Michael Gonzalez Post-Tribune correspondent June 19, 2014 10:32PM
Gary resident Rita Marazzo, with goddaughter at her side, said she fears local children may fall into a sinkhole that has opened behind her home at 43rd Ave. and Virginia St. Gary Sanitary District crews will back fill the hole, but repairs may be up to Marazzo.| Michael Gonzalez~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 21, 2014 2:28PM
GARY — A city official Wednesday said a deep sinkhole that opened behind a resident’s home in the Glen Park area is a safety hazard, but the homeowners may have to cover the repair costs themselves.
Rita Word Marazzo, of the 500 block of East 43rd Avenue, pointed to the 4-foot-wide hole behind her garage that drops about 9 feet and said she worries about kids playing in the area. The hole was protected only by three safety horses and yellow caution tape.
The hole has been widening since she first reported the problem first to City Hall, where staff directed her to the Gary Sanitary District, she said.
“What if something happens, and those kids actually push someone in here,” she said, flanked by her 4-year-old goddaughter. “I’m scared. I do have fears.”
Dan Vicari, head of the GSD, said his agency records show GSD was called to the site last November, when they filled it in. Chances are strong the hole was caused by a problem with the Marazzo’s private lateral connection to the city’s main, making it the homeowners’ expense, he said.
“The homeowners’ responsibility begins at their homes and ends at our lines,” he said. “But, we’ll check it out.”
Vicari said he drove by the area behind the Marazzo home and saw children in the alley. Gary crews will back fill the hole and send a camera truck into the area to determine the cause of the cave-in, Vicari said.
Gary is struggling with aging infrastructure and costs of replacing outdated mains and pipes. The area around 43rd Avenue and Virginia Street, where the Marazzos live, is an older area, where the infrastructure originally was installed in the early to mid-1900s.
GSD works on its sewer mains, but homeowners can pay for insurance companies to protect them against damage to their laterals, Vicari said, and those companies frequently send out fliers and other marketing materials to gather new customers.
“I know that stuff is insurable,” Vicari said.