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Sinkhole becomes ‘real fixation’ for some of its cult-like followers
Tuesday, 06 August 2019 22:41

From Staff Reports

A massive 36-foot sinkhole in a Merrimon Avenue parking lot in North Asheville, believed to be caused by piping problems, reportedly has gained a huge fan base on social media.

“Asheville Sinkhole Group,” a Facebook collective, claims more than 1,700 members and is loaded with memes, pictures and jokes about the apparently mesmerizing sinkhole.

Someone in the group also made T-shirts for fans of the sinkhole that have a picture of it on the front and say “Asheville Sinkhole Society.”

The sinkhole even has its own personal page on Facebook that moderates the “Asheville Sinkhole Group” page — and posts from the perspective of the sinkhole.

To that end, the Asheville Citizen Times noted in a July 22 story that, from “perusing the memes in the group, the collective obsession with the sinkhole can seem tongue-in-cheek, but for some in Asheville it’s a real fixation.”

However, as Asheville’s television station WLOS News 13 reported on July 22, fans might soon be sad to see the sinkhole go, as “permanent repairs are expected to begin Monday,” .

“The City of Asheville released a statement to News 13, stating the hole is under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers and the NCDEQ, and is the responsibility of the property owner to fix. Numerous other stormwater pipes from the area flow into and through the pipe in front of the business,” the television station noted.

The attorney for the property owner, Gary Rowe, told WLOS that he and his staff hope to have fencing installed to help keep onlookers from getting too close.

City officials said that “the temporary pipe was not installed because of its proximity to the building. While they have ordered the larger, permanent pipe to fix the issue, it is expected to be several weeks before it is delivered and installed,” WLOS reported.

“Rowe also told News 13 the city requested they stop filling the hole. Some of the sinkhole's temporary filler had washed into the Bird Sanctuary and Beaver Lake, leading to a violation notice from the NCDEQ.

“Rowe also said they would be reaching out to the Department of Transportation concerning the flow of water from Merrimon Avenue onto the property. They have hired an engineer and a contractor who previously worked to fix a sinkhole in front of Ski Country,” WLOS noted.


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