CANTON, Mich. – Thursday's heavy rain has heightened concerns about a group of Canton homes that are in danger of being swallowed by a creek due to erosion.
Up to five homes in Fellows Creek behind Ford Road in Canton are in danger. Wayne County officials said they're working on a solution, but there's been little progress.
Erosion caused by a creek is eating away at the backyards of the homes. Wayne County is responsible for the issue, and many officials have agreed something needs to change.
"There used to be a whole backyard here," homeowner Carol Richter said.
The backyard had trees, and Richter's children used to play in it. But now there's barely enough room for the septic tank.
"Now we're afraid the house will fall in," Richter said.
"The more erosion that happens, we're in jeopardy of losing that house," homeowner Jeannie Baracy said.
Baracy's 87-year-old grandmother lives next door, where the problem is even worse.
"She can't go back there anymore," Baracy said. "It's not safe for her. We've lost lawn mowers into the creek from her tending to property back there. At this point it's just a loss, there nothing left."
The homeowners have been sharing concerns with Wayne County since the 80s, and now after many recent conversations, the question is, does the county want to save these homes?
In a statement, Wayne County said it remains committed to working with property owners in the Fellows Creek drainage district. During a Friday meeting, the county said legal requirements include getting petitions from the landowners to be filed, and it can't do any work until it gets them.
The county has a budget of $35,000 per year to manage the creek, but estimates the cost to fix the erosion at $100,000.
Homeowners would be on the hook if the houses start to crumble, and the responsibility goes back to a law from 1860 regarding where to build around the creek. But the people here said nobody, not even their grandparents who built the homes in 1940, knew anything about the stipulation until now.