HICKORY, NC (WBTV) - Hickory City Council will consider spending money this week to partner with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to find a fix for the famous Buffalo's Sinkhole.
The pit, which first opened in 2002 and swallowed a corvette the first night and eventually the Buffalo's Restaurant, is not just an eyesore but a danger to busy Highway 70, said Mayor Rudy Wright.
Wright said problems on the sinkhole site are causing issues in the pipes that carry a lot of storm water under Highway 70. He is concerned that the roadway could give way.
The NCDOT has had pumps in place to divert water around some known trouble spots, but officials need to do a through study to figure out what a permanent fix would entail.
The property is owned by a corporation started by grading contractor Steve Mason of Cleveland County. He took over the property in 2006 with the intent to fix the drainage issues and then sell it.
"I've sunk $600,000 into the project and it is still worthless," he said.
Mason has not paid property tax on the site since 2007. He hopes the city will just take the property.
"They don't even need a lawyer, just come to me with the papers and I will sign," Mason said.
Mayor Wright said it is possible that repairs could run into the millions of dollars, and the city might seek legal action to recover it.
Mason, however, said the corporation that owns the property has just one asset: the sinkhole property.
If the city wants to take it, he said, "they can have it."