Gayville Sinkhole Still Waiting For A Solution

GAYVILLE — Three weeks later, the eight-foot deep hole in Gayville in the 500 block of Merchant Street still sits waiting for repairs.

The five-foot wide hole was caused after a portion of a 70-year old vitrified clay pipe collapsed a day after a four-inch rain.

But a solution, both short term and long term, may finally be in place.

Gayville is planning a temporary fix of the pipeline, which the ditch board committee is hoping that construction will start soon.

"I would say within the next week, it will get fixed," said Gary Freeburg, a member of the Gayville ditch board. "Hopefully we get the paperwork done and the culvert gets put in before someone gets hurt or if more of it caves in."

The hole hasn't gotten worse since it originally collapsed three weeks ago, but Freeburg said it still could be a disaster waiting to happen.

"I still presents a big danger," he said. "We better get moving, and the sooner we do it, the better. I'm not a patient person, so when something needs to get done, we have to get off our rear and do it."

The major hold-up with getting a culvert put in and to fill the hole has been paperwork, which has been the same hold-up for getting a permanent fix for the pipeline.

"It just takes time. You have to get the legal things taken care of," Freeburg said. "You have to have the proper financing. That's all there is to it."

Another roadblock to repairing the hole has been the weather. Since the four-inch rainfall that caused the pipe to collapse, Gayville, along with the rest of the area, has had to deal with other major storms.

"Basically weather is a big thing," said Jay Jorgensen, the mayor of Gayville. "Hopefully the weather holds up and the water works its way down."

The hole sits across from a daycare, and is blocked off by a four-foot orange snowfence.

Part of the fence is showing some wear from people stepping over it, but Jorgensen said the fence is doing its job.

"Far as I know, it's holding up well and I haven't heard any problems with it," he said.

Jorgensen said the temporary fix to the pipe and the hole will cost in between $500 and $1,000, and the money to pay for it will come out of an assessment the town has built up for the past eight years.

The assessment was started because this isn't the first problem the town has had with the pipe. In 2000, Gayville had to fix the pipeline after it collapsed for the first time. Two years later, an assessment was placed on property owners who were adjacent to the drainage system in an attempt by the county to get grant money from the state to replace the pipe.

The assessment has generated approximately $12,000 a year, and a total of $112,000 has been accumulated. The estimated cost to replace the drainage system is $250,000.

Jorgensen has been working to get a loan to cover the remaining cost to replace the pipe. Two weeks ago, he met with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in order to get a loan for it.

"The meeting went well and we are looking at the application process now," he said. "I am hopefully going to meet with (Yankton County Auditor) Paula Jones so we can get the application filled out this week."

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