The Dollar Tree store on U.S. 24 in Sugar Creek had already been closed for a few weeks due to utility issues, but only this week did the cause become obvious to any passerby.
Eroded ground caused the parking lot behind the store to cave a bit and then collapse recently, revealing large cracks in the surface.
Sugar Creek Mayor Mike Larson said the collapse first became noticeable sometime in April, but the store remained completely functional. After the started to pull away from near the building, it compromised the store's electrical line, causing the store that opened in 2017 to close indefinitely. The ground then collapsed another few feet to what people can see now.
“They've had two sets of engineers out here, lawyers out here and the (property) owners out of (suburban) Chicago,” Larson said. “They're waiting for the engineers to tell insurance if it could be covered.”
The property had been partly filled in 2016 before the new store was constructed, this spring has been full of rain storms and a broken water line could also be in play, but Larson he didn't want to speculate on the ultimate cause.
Larson said Paul Loving, the city's building inspector, determined that the sewer line is in the city's right of way, so Sugar Creek has a pump at a manhole on the east side of the building, with a hose running around the front of the building to the next manhole on the west side of the parking lot.
“It's like a really fancy sump pump,” Larson said. “As the broken manhole fills up, it triggers the sump pump.”