Neighbors: Crumbling concrete walls are eye-sore turned safety hazard

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. —Oak Hill Cemetery is an eyesore turned safety hazard, according to some neighbors in Grand Rapids about the city-owned cemetery.

“It just hit me one morning, and I was thinking to myself, 'Wow this is really bad. This is really bad. This is dangerous,'” said Keith Cunningham, who was born and raised in Grand Rapids.

Cement walls by Hall Street and Union Avenue are slowly crumbling and falling. Neighbors called the FOX 17 Problem Solvers to see if a fix was in the near future.

FOX 17 News reached out to the city of Grand Rapids, who said they are aware of the problem and are planning to start construction this summer.

Joe Sulak, the Parks Superintendent and City Forester for Grand Rapids, said the wall reconstruction includes two phases.  The first phase involves the removal of wall along Union Avenue SE and replacing it with "a stabilized earthen slope," he said.  It also includes rebuilding the concrete walls along the dge of the corner of Union and Hall and fixing the crumbling portion of the wall along the south side of Hall just east of Paris.

Sulak said the first phase of repairs should be completed by the end of July and will cost an estimated $260,000.

The second phase of repairs involves the complete reconstruction of the wall along Hall Street SE from the western entrance to Paris, Sulak said.  The project is slated for this fall or spring 2016.  No estimated cost for those repairs is available at this time.

We’re waiting to hear back on details of the repairs, such as what will be done, when repairs will begin, and how much they will cost.

Cunningham first noticed the dilapidated concrete walls about a month ago during his daily commute to work.

“When I go to work in the morning, it's like kids are walking up and down the street in the morning time, and you can see big chunks right there that can fall down and hit a kid in the head and can really injure them really seriously.”

“I mean, those are big chunks missing from the wall,” said Cunningham.

Cunningham said the problem has gotten worse with time.  “The deteriorating isn't something that started in the last month or two months, it's something that has been a problem for a while."

“I know a lot of cities are financially strapped, but I mean this should be a priority.”

Cunningham hopes the city gets ahead of it before someone gets hurt.

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