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Giant sinkhole in East Aurora has 'long way to go' before it's repaired

More than a week after a giant sinkhole opened up next to Mikey Dee's in East Aurora, the Main Street cafe and catering business remains closed and the owner doesn't know when it will be open again.

"They've been working on it," said the owner Michael DiJoseph, "but they've got a long way to go. They said 10 to 14 more days."

Mayor Allan Kasprzak said Tuesday that the sinkhole could cost about $500,000 to repair. He said the village has hired Union Concrete to make the repairs and that he hopes the job will be finished by the end of next week.

The Village Board still has to determine if the village will pay for the repairs entirely or if it will ask the property owner to share the cost, Kasprzak said.

DiJoseph was in the process of buying the restaurant at Main and South Willow Street when its parking lot caved in on the night of Nov. 5 as heavy rains flooded local creeks. As parts of the village flooded, a culvert that diverts water from Tannery Brook under Main Street collapsed.

Kasprzak said the repairs include installing a new 87-foot concrete box culvert.

DiJoseph said the sinkhole first started appearing in March.  East Aurora had sent in village workers about a week before the sinkhole collapsed to try to make repairs to the culvert, Kasprzak said last week.

Workers were still trying to repair the culvert Tuesday. Neither gas nor electricity has been restored to the cafe. A gas line was in the area that collapsed, and National Fuel shut off the line to the restaurant. Later, a gas leak was detected inside the cafe, and it was shut off again. A line that supplies electricity to the cafe ran over the hole, and DiJoseph said NYSEG told him it can't be reconnected until the hole is repaired.

In addition, DiJoseph's food truck is inoperable.

"The truck was damaged, too," DiJoseph said. "They had to pull the truck out. ... They had to grab on the back wheel and pull sideways, and that damaged the axle."

That's meant he can't run his business.

"It's completely shut down," he said.

Giant sinkhole opens in East Aurora parking lot

DiJoseph said the insurance on his business won't cover the costs of repairing the damage and food losses. He has obtained a lawyer and is planning to sue the village.

"They left us no choice," he said.

DiJoseph said he has been paying for the repairs to his building out of his own pocket.

"We are going through $10,000 a week right now," DiJoseph said.

In the meantime, two accounts have been started to help DiJoseph: one to support his workers and the other to help DiJoseph.

Kasprzak said the village does not know if there was damage to the building where Mikey Dee's is located or who will pay for that.

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