Sinkhole problem at Lockland Park in Winston-Salem

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- James Stone, 13, has lived in the Ardmore neighborhood of Winston-Salem almost his entire life.

Many of his favorite childhood memories are at Lockland Park, situated right in the middle of the old neighborhood.

But more than a year ago, two sinkholes formed at one end of the park, forcing the city to take away the swings, monkey bars and a slide.

"It's sad kind of seeing how I played here a lot when I was little and then my sister barely ever comes here," Stone said.

Two large areas of the park are now cordoned off by fencing.

The problem is that stormwater drains flowing downhill in the neighborhood meet under the park.

One of the pipes is broken and heavy rains caused the sinkhole.

William Royston, director of Recreation and Parks for Winston-Salem, says they are aware of the situation, but can't take action to improve the park until the stormwater pipes are repaired.

Royston said the entire stormwater plan had to be redesigned.

"Until they finish that process we can't go in an do anything cause they would just rip up any improvements that we make," he said.

But James's mom Kimberly says the pipes have long been a problem and the park needs to be fixed.

"The sinkholes that are affecting this park effect the neighborhood and these kids should not be penalized for something that's a city park it's supposed to be here for the kids that are in this neighborhood," she said.

James and his teenage friends are planning on going door to door Saturday morning to get neighbors to sign a petition in support of fixing the park.

He plans to take the petition to city government.

Royston says construction on the stormwater pipes should begin in the late summer.

He says he has plans to bring the swings back and improve walkways within the park.

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