For the 21.31 million people who live in Florida, natural disasters are no stranger. From hurricanes to flooding, residents are generally prepared for anything that comes their way. However multiple Florida residents have been having to evacuate their homes due to sinkholes.
A retirement community in central Florida is being affected by the formation of sinkholes around their homes. Multiple residents were evacuated and utilities were cut to a few more homes close to the sinkhole to lessen dangers for crews working in the area. Fortunately, no one has been injured.
When people reach the average retirement age of 63, many choose to move to one of the many retirement communities in Florida. The Villages is home to over 50,000 residents, many of whom were startled to learn of the sinkhole situation.
Doris Morrill, a resident of The Villages, called 911 regarding strange noises outside her home, not really thinking much about it. However, just a few hours after her initial call, she called back to say that a hole had formed between her and her neighbor’s houses.
Nearby neighbor Frank Neumann was unaware of the sinkholes until emergency services knocked on his door, telling him he had to evacuate.
“I heard some noise,” Neumann told WCJB. “I thought it was thunder. Evidently that was the ground crashing in on the sinkhole.”
Sinkholes are common in areas where underground water has the ability to naturally dissolve the rocks underneath the surface. When the water erodes a layer of rock underground, the soil eventually gives in and creates a sinkhole.
Florida resorts and homes have been swallowed by sinkholes in the past. While a basement remodels can have up to a 70% ROI, many Florida homes do not have basements due to the reoccurring disasters, like sinkholes and flooding. Along with Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Pennsylvania are also susceptible to sinkholes.
According to authorities, after the sinkholes formed in the retirement community, a nearby lake on a golf course began draining. The lake was man-made and crews were attempting to drain it in order to help the situation.
After the initial sinkhole, many more opened up as well. Seeing the sinkholes have many of the community residents concerned that their property could be next. They brought their concerns to a meeting with the Supervisor for Community Development in District 4, despite the fact that the meeting was originally not about sinkholes.
“There’s no agenda here and people are permitted to come to the meetings and chat about whatever they like,” said Supervisor Don Deacin.
The meeting was filled with citizens expressing concerns and asking questions about how sinkholes form, who’s going to be in charge of fixing the damage, and insurance coverage. According to Deacin, many of the questions and concerns brought up at the meeting need to be addressed by Villages staff members, while other concerns should be addressed by Marion County.
Deacin explained that they didn’t have all of the reports from the sonar ground penetrating technical equipment yet, so they couldn’t fully address concerns.
The Villages staff is planning on having a presentation regarding the sinkhole situation to address concerns and provide residents with more information and direction.