‘It’s embarrassing’: Indiana repair shop owner begs city to fill in potholes blocking his business

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INDIANAPOLIS — After multiple complaints into the city, the owner of a car repair shop on the east side is pleading for help.

Michael Cantrell of Michael’s Automotive told reporters he was worried about road conditions in front of his business.

Cantrell’s life centers around fixing cars, but recently city roads have been getting in the way of that.  When his customers drive away, he said he worries the potholes surrounding Michael’s Automotive will ruin his work.

“I don’t want to fix cars and pull them out and have suspension issues when I pull them out,” Cantrell said.

For the past year, Cantrell has called the city and reported the road hazards in front of his store.  He made his most recent report in February, yet the holes remained.

“I have issues with customers in wheelchairs and walkers that have issues parking in my lot and coming through here,” he said. “They almost have to walk into traffic to get into my lot, and that’s not very safe.”

Customers are concerned about going to Michael’s Automotive, too.

“Please! Somebody do something about these holes,” pleaded Michelle Ooley, a concerned customer. “When I brought my car in, I couldn’t believe it. I stopped to see. Am I really going to turn into this alley? Am I really going to go down here and ruin my tires?”

Ooley and others have made six reports so far into Department of Public Works and the Mayor’s Action Center.

“Our mailman, who’s been our mailman for 18 years, he turned it in multiple times,” Cantrell said. “I’ve called it in. Neighbors around here have called it in. Just couldn’t seem to get anything going.”

Each of the six reports has a status listed as closed.  The Mayor’s Action Center said that doesn’t mean the problem will not be addressed.  They said their reports could be considered closed because they are duplicates of an existing report.

“We’re all going through these holes. It’s embarrassing,” Ooley said.

This stretch of road is not on the DPW 2019 resurfacing list. DPW sent out crews to fix the potholes Thursday afternoon following calls from reporters, but Cantrell said crews left without completing the entire job.  DPW said Cantrell can file another report once the project is completed if he thinks it needs to be rechecked.

But to Cantrell, it’s more than just a pothole project needing completion: it’s his life and livelihood.

“We’ve been fine for the past 30 years and I want to go on fine for the next 30 years,” he said.

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