Residents still left with questions as officials update Fraser sinkhole situation

Posted at 11:36 PM, Jan 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-01 00:38:38-05

People affected by the sinkhole emergency in Fraser packed a special city council meeting hoping for more answers nearly six weeks after it all began.

Fraser mayor Joe Nichols says going forward he's calling it the "15 Mile Interceptor drain collapse," because he doesn't want the stigma attached to his city and neighboring Clinton Township. 

But the problem isn't going away anytime soon.

Residents filled Council chambers as local and county officials provided an update on where work stands.

They were told appraisals are in progress to compensate homeowners of the three homes condemned as a result of the sinkhole.

Work to complete a long-term bypass of the drain has been delayed because necessary pipe is not readily available. Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller said she hopes that can be finished in three weeks to a month. 

The other 19 residents who live on Eberlein Drive were able to return to their homes January 8th. But it's a new normal for them. Their lives are still disrupted and will be for months to come.

Linda Anstess is also very worried about her home's value--even after the fix.

"I feel my home's worth nothing because I don't think I could put it on the market tomorrow and anyone would come and pay anything for that house, maybe they would offer $10,000 or $20,000, but nowhere near what the actual value of the home is and that is my biggest fear," she says. 

City officials assured homeowners on Eberlein that tax assessments on their property would be reduced.

As for the cost of repairs -- a figure upwards of $100 million - perhaps as much of $140 million is still the estimate.

That price tag is to fix the sinkhole itself and the entire stretch of area around it. Miller said it would be a decision for officials in the 11 communities that make up the Macomb Interceptor Drain District.

Residents of those communities impacted could start seeing an increase on their sewer bills by July to pay for the fix, that will take 10 months to a year, according to engineers working on the project.