SUNRISE (CBS4) — Some Sunrise condo residents have bigger backyards, thanks to the city repairing them after they sunk into a canal.

Nearly eight weeks after being evacuated from their homes when part of their backyards collapsed into a canal, repairs are completed at Spring Tree Cove West and residents are able to return home.

Alan Lueck and his uncle, Louis Sasso, are the only two to return so far, but others are expected to move back in on Saturday.

“It’s just a relief,” Lueck said. “It’s a burden off my shoulders.”

A total of seven townhouses were evacuated and declared unsafe. For weeks, residents didn’t know if the homes sustained significant damage and when or if they would be able to return home.

There is debate over who owns the land — Broward County or the Spring Tree Cove West homeowner’s association. While that is sorted out, the city of Sunrise spent $250,000 to repair the canal bank with rock, sand, dirt and soil. The city plans to put up fencing in the backyard.

Each home had to be certified as safe by a structural engineer before the city would allow residents to move back in.

“To my knowledge none of the houses moved,” Sasso said. “Mine didn’t move,  I know that.”

But Sasso said he believes the erosion might have caused minor cracks in some of the other homes.

Regardless, the city said it did what it had to do by fixing the canal bank quickly.

“I’m ecstatic that the city responded in such a forceful way,” Mayor Mike Ryan said. “Our entire effort is getting in touch with the residents and celebrating getting them back in their homes. It proves that government can do things right occasionally.”

Lueck said the new backyard — which has a steeper slope than before — is bigger and better. He credits the city of Sunrise with paying for and fixing a problem that wasn’t theirs.

“Their main concern was the integrity of the community and I don’t see that in a lot of communities,” Lueck said. “I’m proud to live in Sunrise.”


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