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Businesses concerned over failing Cadillac culvert as winter approaches

UPDATE 10/25/2023 6:15 p.m.

CADILLAC — After three months, the failing culvert in the Wexford Jewelers parking lot in Cadillac is seeing no fix in sight. And with the winter season quickly approaching, there are new concerns.

“We have concerns which started actually in the fall, we have fall rains and we see a lot of erosion and a lot of the sediment fall through and breach the culverts which is a big issue,” said Administrator of Sales of Wexford Jewelers Keith Terwilliger.

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He said that the city and the state have been quiet on the matter recently, but he has been in touch with the Chamber of Commerce who are also hoping to see change.

“As the concrete shifts, as the culvert continues to disintegrate, as the culvert continues to fall in and having more of the parking lot get lost, not only to the company but to the customers of that space,” said President of the Cadillac Area Chamber of Commerce Caitlyn Stark.

Terwilliger said that the traffic in his store has slowed down ever since the fences had been put in place. But he is even more concerned for those who are living in the area impacted by the failing culvert.

“We are concerned that to the north and to the west we are going to see major flooding if the culvert was to fully collapse or the other concern is that if the water from Lake Cadillac and Lake Mitchell that those residents will take on water,” says Terwilliger.

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There is no set date as to when there could possibly be a fix for this, but the Chamber of Commerce and Terwilliger say that writing to the city and the state can be a huge help.

07/25/2023 6:20 p.m.

Wexford Jewelers in Cadillac has been facing major problems within their parking lot.

The city has been trying to help the storefront in figuring out the next steps, but things are more complicated than they seem.

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“They’ve just failed, their lifespan is done” said Keith Terwilliger, the administrator in sales at Wexford Jewelers, said.

Wexford Jewelers says the holes in their parking lot are not sink holes, but rather it’s a culvert system that has failed.

“What you’re seeing is infrastructure that actually is built underneath the parking lot and then there are two culverts that are actually built underneath the parking lot that pass underneath the parking lot, that’s why we are seeing holes in the parking lot because the steel is giving way and the culvers are opening up and it’s allowing the sediment to flow into the river,” said Terwilliger.

And unfortunately, there are no plans in the near future for it to be fixed.

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“There isn’t a concrete plan yet, Michele Hoitenga has been amazing stepping in and looking for help, but it is a very complicated project because you’re looking at a state river, state highway, and you’re looking at it being within the city. You’re also looking at drains that actually flow out of Lake Cadillac, and Lake Mitchell” said Terwilliger.

And even though the owners of Wexford Jewelers are getting help from Senator Hoitenga, there are other issues.

“There is a lot of issues with who actually owns this property because this little strip where the river is not deeded to us or to the north, its actually undeeded property that is not claimed by anybody” said Terwilliger.

But City Manager Marcus Peccia say’s they are working with Terwilliger to find a solution.

“The river is owned by the state. None of this property is owned or is under the authority of the city however the city is certainly trying to do everything we possibly can to help the adjacent property owner in finding resources to get this problem resolved,” Peccia said.

But in the meantime, Terwilliger wants customers to know that the building is complexly safe, and they are still open.

“We would like to see more people message in to our local representatives and our state officials to let them know the urgency of this because if this was to collapse right here, there would be flooding go actually to the north over by Lincoln school and the credit union and eventually it would create some sort of issue for the housing and all the people that live on Lake Mitchell and Lake Cadillac” said Terwilliger.

Places in the parking lot that are deemed unsafe are blocked off by fences.

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