Giant sinkholes open up in Trump-loving Florida community

·3-min read
Two of three sinkholes that opened up in The Villages in Florida on Monday. (screengrab)
Two of three sinkholes that opened up in The Villages in Florida on Monday. (screengrab)

Three huge sinkholes have opened up in The Villages in Florida, draining water from ponds and shutting down a nearby recreation centre and swimming pool.

According to the Villages-News, birds swooped in to feast on the bodies of dead fish left over after the water from the pond drained into the holes.

The Villages is a sprawling private town in Florida, a sizeable portion of which is age restricted to retirees.

Between 2010 and 2017, The Villages was the fastest growing metropolitan area in the US.

The community is notable for its large population of Donald Trump supporters, mostly retirees who moved to The Villages from other states. In 2016, Sumter County, where the bulk of The Villages is located, recorded an 87.5 per cent turnout for Republican voters.

Despite the prevalence of Trump supporters in The Villages, there naturally are some who are less fond of the former president. That fissure in the community made headlines in 2020 when anti-Trump Villagers and pro-Trump Villagers began to protest each other by decorating their golf carts with rival political messages and driving around their exclusive community.

One of the protests even went viral, showing lines of Biden supporters booing a group of Trump supporters and yelling “F*** Trump” during a protest.

Mr Trump retweeted a video from that protest in which one of his supporters can be heard shouting “white power” as he moved past the camera. The former president deleted the tweet after social media exploded at the apparent endorsement of the supporter’s racist ideology.

Politically decked out golf carts became synonymous with the community throughout the remainder of the election.

The Villages is filled with golf carts, both to remove car traffic and its resulting noise but also because the community has numerous golf courses.

It was golfers who found the trio of depressions on Monday.

One of the golfers told ClickOrlando that sinkholes – which are not uncommon in Florida – have occurred before in The Villages, but noted that these were different.

"We've had sinkholes pretty much all around The Villages on rare occasions, but this is probably the worst one I've seen," Kevin Harms, a golfer, told the outlet.

The area near the holes have been blocked off by caution tape while The Villages Fire Rescue team inspects the area to assess whether it poses further threat of collapse.

Sinkholes have plagued The Villages for years, as the bulk of the community is built across Florida's "Sinkhole Alley".

The Sunshine State has more sinkholes than any other US state primarily due to the way water affects the stability of the ground.

Due to Florida's topography, too much water or too little water in the ground can result in air pockets or erosion that create holes. Florida is one of the few places in the US that has a karst topography, which features caves and underground drainage channels created by water mixing with limestone and other soluble minerals. These chambers, under the right conditions, can collapse.

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