Park’s basketball court stays closed due to sinkhole

MIKE CONLEY/MCDOWELL NEWS

The Marion Community Building Park’s basketball courts will remain closed until further notice due to this sinkhole that formed Sunday, April 2. Marion’s Public Works Director Brant Sikes said a company from Hickory will be here in the next couple of days to perform a preliminary assessment of the situation.

A Hickory firm should arrive this week to perform a preliminary assessment of the sinkhole that formed earlier this month at the Marion Community Building Park’s basketball courts.

Marion’s Public Works Director Brant Sikes said Catawba Valley Engineering & Testing of Hickory will come here and perform an assessment of the sinkhole and the condition of the pipe that runs underneath the Community Building’s park.

The sinkhole formed on Sunday, April 2 when a section of a dilapidated underground storm drain pipe collapsed. Because of the depth of the pipeline, city crews have been unable to access it.

“There’s been no movement on it,” said Sikes. “We can’t access that pipe.”

This drain pipe runs the entire length of the park, from North Main Street to Logan Street. One end of it is 10 to 15 feet deep while the other end is more than 30 feet deep, said Sikes.

When Catawba Valley Engineering comes here, they will be able to provide a preliminary assessment. Eventually, a camera will be run through the drain pipe to fully determine the scope of the situation.

Until it is repaired, the basketball courts will stay closed. A large wooden platform now covers the sinkhole.

Sikes said he has not heard any complaints from the public about the basketball courts being closed. During the warm spring months, playing basketball outdoors is a popular pastime.

“I am sure it is inconvenient for people wanting to play basketball,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that this has happened.”

During this period, the city urges the public to consider use of other Marion community parks:

• West Marion Park, located on Addie’s Chapel Drive on Ridley Street next to Addie’s Chapel United Methodist Church

• Cross Mill Park, located on Granby Street near the old Cross Cotton Mill

• Clinchfield Park, located on Hill Street near the old Clinchfield Mill

• Eastfield Park, located on Perry Street next to Eastfield Global Magnet School.

Each of these community parks has a parking area, picnic shelter, playground area, walking track and basketball court.

For more information about this situation, contact the Public Works Department at 652-4224.