Governor McCrory: Hickory sinkhole 'action plan' in the works - | WBTV Charlotte

Governor McCrory: Hickory sinkhole 'action plan' in the works

(Steve Ohnesorge | WBTV) (Steve Ohnesorge | WBTV)
HICKORY, NC (WBTV) -

Hickory's famous sinkhole may soon be just a memory if plans hold up. The sinkhole, which opened in 2002, has become a top priority to fix after it caused flooding earlier this year that blocked busy Highway 70 and damaged dozens of cars at sales lots next door. 

For years the city has been asking the owner of the property to fix the problem. Now, the city and state plan to take over the property and fix it themselves.

"It is going to be done and it will be done this year," said Hickory Mayor Rudy Wright. 

Governor Pat McCrory announced on Monday that a plan of action has been drawn up and the state will "commit $1,000,000 to the plan." Estimates are as high as $3.2 million to fix the issue. 

The sinkhole developed during heavy rain in 2002 in the parking lot of a restaurant. A Corvette was swallowed up by the hole. No one was hurt, but efforts to solve the drainage problem failed. 

Grading company owner Steve Mason in Cleveland County took over the property a few years later and attempted to make repairs but, after spending more than half a million dollars, stopped.

He has told WBTV in the past he "Was not going to spend any more money," and added, "The city and state can have it." 

Wright said efforts are underway for the city to take over the property in the coming weeks. Once the city has control of it, the action plan can be implemented. 

Wright said the city has not ruled out the possibility they may seek to recover repair costs from Mason. 

Mason, however, has said the property is not technically owned by him anymore. It is under the umbrella of a corporation he set up and that the corporation's only asset is the sinkhole property. 

"They can have that," he said earlier in the summer. 

McCrory said it was time to fix the problem, "Before any more businesses are affected."

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