A Year After Nevada County Sinkhole Appeared, It’s Still There — And It’s Bigger Than Ever

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NEVADA COUNTY -- Almost exactly a year ago, Northern California was experiencing record rain and snowfall, causing flooding and sinkholes in the foothills. The evidence of that storm event still exists, but not by choice.

A year ago, a sinkhole appeared in the parking lot of the Stonehouse Restaurant. The sinkhole is still there and now it's bigger than ever.

Little Deer Creek is a mere trickle compared to 12 months ago when floodwater overwhelmed the culvert, causing water to back up and flood the parking lot. Those who work nearby say a section of the parking lot eventually collapsed into a 10 foot chasm. It's disconcerting for some that it hasn't yet been repaired.

"It's been deteriorating for a while now," said Keith Curtis.

He's surprised that repairs haven't been completed.

Nevada City Public Works did do some emergency work shortly after the sinkhole appeared, clearing collapsed concrete debris to increase the flow through the culvert into nearby Deer Creek. That work actually made the sinkhole bigger.

But because it's a private parking lot, the city says emergency funds aren't available for repairs. That means it's up to the owner of the property.

But the owner of the Stone House Inn says he doesn't have the money either, and that the culvert is the city's responsibility.

By contrast, Grass Valley's massive sinkhole that appeared at the same time looks completely different a year later.

"We haven't been here up close to it," Barbara Collins said.

This much larger sinkhole was 100 feet deep and took some boats with it when it collapsed under part of a parking lot. A year later, it's become an attraction of sorts -- with its graded sides and access roads.

"I'm surprised. I was expecting a hole rather that landscaped features. Looks like they've done a really good job," Jan Collins said.

It cost the city nearly $2 million over 11 months to repair. It was a priority because the adjacent road and Highway 49 were thought to be in danger. The city is hoping to get reimbursed by state or federal disaster funds.

The future of the Nevada City sinkhole on the other hand is up in the air.

"Hopefully it gets handled soon," Curtis said.

So far there is no sign that it will.

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