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Central Avenue still recovering from water main break

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One month ago, a water main break on Central Avenue affected businesses and buildings, including Daddy Kool Records and the Underground Church Network. The hole in the wall of the Underground Church Network still remains.
One month ago, a water main break on Central Avenue affected businesses and buildings, including Daddy Kool Records and the Underground Church Network. The hole in the wall of the Underground Church Network still remains.

It’s been over a month since the water main break on Seventh Street and Central Avenue swallowed the sidewalk, part of the street, and the west wall of 670 Central Ave., but the area remains fenced off and the hole in the wall is still there.

Manny Kool, manager of Daddy Kool Records on Central Avenue, was kept out of his record store for over a week.

“We got back in as soon as they signed off saying it was safe to come back in,” Kool said. “But right now, they’re doing nothing. Not one hammer has been thrown.”

Although the water main has been repaired and the hole in Seventh Street has been filled, two commercial-grade forklifts are supporting the roof of the Underground Network Church, which had yet to open its doors to the public before the water main break occurred.

Rick Dunn, city building official for the city of St. Petersburg, has since met with the building owner and the engineer overseeing the construction.

“The intent of the owner is to save the entire building,” Dunn said.

“The engineer indicated that he is preparing construction drawings to provide temporary shoring for the damaged west wall,” Dunn also said. “We expect to see permit applications for the repair in the coming weeks, with a second permit application following to complete the permanent repairs.”

Manny Kool is looking forward to the repairs’ completion.

“Having this fence up gives the perception to some people that we aren’t open,” Kool said. “We have to spend time explaining what happened instead of talking about music.”

Once the permits are approved, crews can begin to get the 600 block of Central Avenue back to normal.

“Upon completion of the temporary shoring of the building,” Dunn said, “the city will prepare a schedule for repairs in the right of way at Seventh Street.”

The hole, estimated at 10 feet deep and 25 feet wide, opened up beneath the sidewalk on Seventh Street in the early morning of Feb. 26 while workers were repairing a leak in the water main. There were no injuries, as the building was unoccupied at the time of the partial collapse.

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