Neighbors in Church Hill call 12 about gaping hole in road, other complaints

Neighbors in Church Hill call 12 about gaping hole in road, other complaints
Source: NBC12
Source: NBC12

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A buckling sidewalk and a gaping hole in the middle of the street. These are just some of the problems a Church Hill couple saw outside their home every day.

Mary and Joseph Fitzgerald say they took their complaints to the city of Richmond, their council rep and even showed up in person at City Hall but got no satisfaction.

The city responded to Mary and Joseph before we got involved, but the couple says it was not what they expected. They were looking for a permanent fix and assurances all their concerns would be handled.

An unacceptable repair to a gaping hole in the street is what prompted Joseph to see if we could summon help. Joseph Fitzgerald says a UPS driver trying to maneuver around the hole almost drove a front wheel on his truck into the hole. The city dropped a cone in the crater to serve as a warning.

Neighbors say they want a permanent repair and not a warning sign.

"That's the menace and somebody is going to get hurt," said Joseph  Fitzgerald. "Then they're going to do something about it after somebody gets hurt."

His wife, Mary, is just as concerned as her husband.

"My car has fallen in the hole, but I happen to catch it," said Mary Fitzgerald. "I said, 'Oh Lord, I fell in the hole' and I backed up."

These residents are diligent and conscientious about their property and say they feel they're being brushed aside because longstanding problems are still a nuisance - like tree branches entangled in power lines and touching his house, and tree roots lifting up the sidewalk. He says making the sidewalk safe again is not his responsibility.

"I didn't plant the tree," said Joseph Fitzgerald. "That's city property. My property, that I pay taxes on, is inside that fence. The sidewalk is buckled and it's dangerous for anyone to walk there, especially someone at my age."

The city responded the next day to my call, confirming crews were looking into each of the couple's concerns but said tree pruning got pushed back because of recent storms.

A team showed up, removed the cone and filled in the hole.

There was some finger-pointing about the tree-entangled power lines, but a call to Dominion fixed that.

The city is scheduled to trim the trees back from Joseph's roof and the power lines in about two weeks. Dominion is on standby if needed.

"I should not have to be going through changes like this at my age," said Joseph Fitzgerald.

The broken sidewalk will be the hardest to correct. Joseph says the city is telling him there's no money in the budget. A representative tells me someone is coming out to look at it.

If you live in the city and have similar problems, call Richmond Customer Care Center at 804-646-7000.  For tree issues involving Dominion, contact the power company at 1-866-DOM-HELP or -866-366-4357.

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