BRADENTON (FOX 13) - At Cortez Plaza East in Bradenton, shoppers have to maneuver around large potholes, growing bigger as time goes on. People who live nearby say the holes aren’t just a nuisance for shoppers. The holes are causing their homes to flood.
The plaza owners say they can't afford to fix the problem but the longer they wait, the more expensive it gets. Now the county is exploring some options.
Sara Mazzoni said there have been holes in the parking lot of Cortez Plaza East for as long as she's been doing laundry here.
"It's very dangerous. Very scary," Mazzoni said. "Somebody could run into it. Somebody could get hurt. You never know."
The holes are marked off by a falling fence, with grates thrown on over them. Inside, exposed water pipes are visible, and the holes seem to grow every time it rains.
Business owners want the plaza owner, Bradenton Associates LLC, to do something about it.
To make matters worse, authorities said the holes contribute to the flooding of nearby condos.
"This whole back area will flood," said Tim Hibbs, pointing to a section of Burgundy Two Condominiums.
Hibbs said since the holes appeared, his condo floods with every downpour.
"Once this water gets up to the curb line, that's a real indicator that you need to get your vehicles out of here immediately," he said, looking at a large section of the complex's parking lot.
Manatee County Code Enforcement said the holes have compromised the main stormwater system for the area.
"This ditch runs right under that road. As it goes over that road it goes over to that plaza," said Hibbs.
The plaza owners told code enforcement officials they don't have the money to repair the holes or to pay the $10,000 in fines they've been given by Manatee County.
The Department of Public Works is now looking into the problem and will present a potential fix during a June 12 meeting. Until then, shoppers, business owners, and residents continue to wait and watch as the holes grow.
The plaza is currently listed for sale for an unnamed price. The property owners and managers did not return calls to FOX 13 for comment.