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Sinkhole In Rountree Neighborhood Swallows Mailbox, Leaving Homeowner To Seek Solution

Athena Gideon

We don’t usually think about the ground we walk on; that is, until suddenly it isn’t there anymore. That’s what happened to one Springfield homeowner when a sinkhole opened up on her property recently.

Athena Gideon lives in the Rountree neighborhood in central Springfield. When she left her home on the morning of June 9, she noticed the mailbox by the front porch was missing.

“And as I walked a little bit closer I just saw a giant hole there, and my heart kind of sank and my breath was literally taken away," she told KSMU. "But that’s when I realized we must have a sinkhole that’s just opened up,” she said.

The mailbox and a significant chunk of ground under the driveway had been swallowed by a large sinkhole.

Gideon said the city can’t repair the hole because it’s on private property. And she said her homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover sinkholes.  She’s also worried the sinkhole could get bigger.

“It could potentially open up under our home, deeper, or under our yard," she said. "There’s a lot of possibilities, so it’s very frightening to think of,” Gideon said.

She hopes to have the hole filled by excavators in the next couple weeks. A friend of Gideon’s has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the price of filling it in, which is estimated to cost between $10,000 and $25,000. Gideon now wants homeowners to consider buying special sinkhole insurance.

The City of Springfield estimates there are more than 2,500 mapped sinkholes in Greene County and 360 sinkholes in Springfield. The city has an online map of sinkholes in the area, and it shows a large sinkhole under Gideon’s neighborhood, running below Cherry Street and Fairway Avenue.

Chris Dunnaway, a stormwater engineer for the Springfield Department of Public Works, told KSMU residents should contact the city after a sinkhole collapse for a free inspection to figure out what to do. If the collapse is near the home, Dunnaway recommends calling a professional engineer.

Resources from the City of Springfield:

  • map showing known sinkhole boundaries in Greene County.
  • slideshow with information on and pictures of various local sinkholes.