Fri September 13, 2013
Louisville Metro Parks Staff Spend Friday Investigating Russell Lee Park After 2 Rescued From Hole
Louisville Metro Parks crews and others spent Friday probing Russell Lee Park in West Louisville after a toddler and adult were rescued from a hole there the night before.
Emergency crews needed about an hour Thursday night to rescue the 2-year-old and the adult.
The hole was about 15-feet deep, three-feet wide and lined with brick, said Marty Storch, assistant director of Metro Parks.
In response to the incident, Metro Parks closed Russell Lee Park Friday while its staff and Metropolitan Sewer District employees investigated further, Storch said. (MSD assisted because it had specialized equipment, spokesman Steve Tedder said.)
The crews found about two dozen depressions, Storch said. Each were probed to test if there was potential for another hole to develop; for some, crews dug to investigate further.
They found none that appeared to have major hole-forming potential, Storch said.
"What we have done is all the areas where we had depressions that we probed that we found, we put some type of barrier around them—caution tape—just so people know," he said.
Storch said more work will be done in the effected areas.
Storch said a family gathering scheduled for the weekend won't go on and youth football practices will be relocate.
But crews "did not put up any barrier to keep the park closed," Storch said. "We closed off all the areas [with depressions] with caution tape as best we could to try to keep people out of those areas."
City staff have gone through records and found no complaints in recent years about holes in the park—including the hole in which the toddler fell, Storch said.
But Metro Councilwoman Attica Scott, a Democrat whose District 1 includes the park, said people who frequent the park have told her that they've made complaints using the city's MetroCall system.
She said she's concerned about this incident and wider issues of sinkholes in her district.
The two rescued from the hole Thursday reportedly suffered no serious injuries, news outlets reported.
What Was the Hole?
The hole was clearly old infrastructure from when a neighborhood stood on the park, which is in the Park DuValle neighborhood, Storch said.
He said officials haven't figured out what, exactly, the hole was used for.
"Was it a well?" Storch said. "Was it a cistern? Was it some type of drainage that old, old neighborhoods used to do where you dig down until you got to a sand layer, water would come in and it would dissipate out?"
Regardless, the hole has been filled in with rock and dirt, he said. It's still cordoned off, for now, he added.