BELLEVILLE, Ill. – An elderly couple from Belleville, Illinois, finally got results after dealing with sinkholes in their backyard.
The problem was caused by Belleville’s rusting stormwater pipes. There are two sinkholes in the backyard, a smaller one that is about three feet deep, and a larger one right next to it. The sinkholes are getting deeper.
Mallie and Robert Payne said they have been battling with Belleville for two years, trying to get their problem solved. Last month, the family contacted FOX 2 for help.
“Until my daughter wrote a letter to channel two to see what was happening,” Mallie said. “She talked to the mayor’s office and talked to the chief engineer. But she didn’t get anything accomplished until she wrote that letter to you with channel two, to get you involved in the situation that’s been going on for years with this sinkhole. And with the piping that they already knew was rusting out. They was just giving us the runaround over and over and over again.”
After the couple contacted FOX 2, we reached out to Belleville Mayor Patty Gregory for assistance. She said the problem did not start under her leadership, but she was determined to get the issue fixed.
The Paynes said they are now receiving regular updates on the work from city hall and have been assured that the sinkholes will be filled soon. They are seeing construction crews out in the neighborhood every day.
Robert said they received a call from the mayor.
“She apologized for taking so long,” Robert said. “I knew we was on our way.”
It will cost around $126,000 to fix the sinkholes. While the Paynes are unsure how long the work will take, they do know that Belleville has made it a priority.