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Deep hole discovered in parking lot at Top of the Square plaza

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WATERTOWN — A couple of contractors working at Top of the Square plaza were surprised on Tuesday morning to discover a deep hole that formed in the parking lot of the plaza that houses Asian Fusion, 111 Court St.

City firefighters were dispatched to the plaza to find out what caused the hole — described as a 10-inch hole at the top, 8-feet deep and 4-feet across — and make sure plaza visitors were not in danger.

They did not think it was a sinkhole, similar to the ones found in Florida.

To keep people from the area, the managers of the plaza, owned by property investor Brian H. Murray, put up barriers and caution tape in front of the plaza’s main front doors.

The city’s Engineering and Code Enforcement offices also were called in to make sure it was safe.

City officials speculated the hole was caused either by the city’s infamous caverns that run underneath Public Square and much of downtown or the ground and foundations settling all these years later from buildings torn down during the city’s Urban Renewal program during the 1970s.

“It was either one,” Fire Chief Dale C. Herman said.

The hole also surprised passersby going into the plaza on Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s unique,” said one woman, wondering what caused it. “I hope it doesn’t fall in while I’m here.”

The managers told the Code Enforcement office it planned on filling in the hole with crusher stone within the next 24 hours, and paving over it, said city fire Capt. Todd R. DeMar, an agent with the city’s Code Enforcement office.

He surmised that a hotel demolished decades ago once stood at the site.

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