Irma creates hazard along park bulkhead

Irma creates hazard along park bulkhead
Baker Point Park in December 207 after the sinkhole was filled.

Lakeside resident Carol Easter isn’t the only one who wants to know when the City of Jacksonville intends to address a dangerous situation at a local park.

This hole at the bulkhead in Baker Point Park was supposedly filled with stones and dirt back in April 2017. After Hurricane Irma’s storm surge washed away the dirt fill, there is no indication of stone fill.

This hole at the bulkhead in Baker Point Park was supposedly filled with stones and dirt back in April 2017. After Hurricane Irma’s storm surge washed away the dirt fill, there is no indication of stone fill.

“I  have been told there have been many people calling about the bulkhead, the huge sinkhole and, in Stinson Park, the ramp to the dock over in the neighbor’s yard,” said Easter. “As you walk by it can be hazardous to fall into the river. I have been very concerned for people who go there at night. If they were not aware that the ramp is gone it would be quite easy to fall in [the river].”

The Resident reached out to the City’s public information office Dec. 1, 2017 to find out why a sinkhole has re-appeared in Baker Point Park after the City spent more than $3,000 in April 2017 to fix erosion around the bulkhead at the park on San Juan Avenue. And that was after a new bulkhead was installed at that same park in June 2015.

Easter and her husband, Ron, live a block away from Baker Point Park and across the street from Stinson Park, both of which they patrol daily, picking up trash in the early mornings.

When the sinkhole first appeared in August 2016, the Easters contacted the city a number of times by phone and by email and said there was no response.

After The Resident reached out to city employees in Parks, Recreation and Community Services, Public Works and the office of District 14 Councilman Jim Love in early January 2017, barriers were installed around the erosion sites the same day and the hole was expected to be filled in within the next 30 days.

Four months later, the hole was filled with stones, then over-filled with dirt before sod was put down. A concrete spillway was added in hopes of deterring additional erosion from storms.

Hurricane Irma, like her predecessor Matthew, will most likely be blamed for the re-occurrence of the sinkhole, which is easily large enough and deep enough to swallow an unsuspecting victim.

Across the street in Stinson Park, a public dock was torn from the bulkhead on the Ortega River and the ramp is still resting in a nearby yard. In November 2017, a City spokesperson said the support structures for the dock and ramp were being inspected and after the assessment was completed, repairs costs and a timeline would be determined based on FEMA guidelines.

As of press time, The Resident had not received a response from the City about the cause and the repair of the re-
appearing sinkhole, but a check of the site in mid-December revealed it had been filled once again.

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