NAPLES, Fla - Evidence of a sinkhole remains evident at Faith Community Church in North Naples. In June the church was forced to shut down its daycare and close the building because structural engineers deemed it unsafe.
For the first time since June, members are able to once again congregate inside Faith Community Church. Structural engineers have deemed the foyer area safe, but the daycare remains shut down and the rest of the building closed.
Pastor Roy Shuck, walking through the closed auditorium, tells WINK News, "I have no doubt in my mind there is a sinkhole occuring."
Since June, Pastor Roy Shuck says the cracks in the walls have only gotten bigger, the tiles on the floor looser, and evidence of a sink hole only more apparent.
"We've lost memberships and donations. It amounts to $60,000 that we have lost. It's been a big loss," says Shuck.
When WINK News talked to Pastor Shuck last June, State Farm had denied their insurance claim. Since then, the Tampa Bay law firm representing Faith Community Church asked State Farm's engineers to re-look at the damage.
"I got a good feeling from their engineer and talking with him that they were going to turn in a report that may cause state farm to go ahead and make a move on some sort of settlement with us. I'm hoping, maybe I'm being optimistic," says Shuck.
Guidelines have been put in to place by the Supreme Court to get lawsuits like this one settled within 18 months. While it doesn't always happen, Shuck is hoping this case will conclude within the next 6-8 months because that settlement from State Farm is the only thing that he says will keep this church from closing it's doors for good.
"We feel comfortable we are able to get through the next six months well just have to get God in the game and when he helps move and people are moved in their hearts we feel well weather this and get through it," says Shuck.
Gary Miller, attorney for Freeman & Miller based in Tampa says this case will ultimately come down to the expert witnesses "We have a tremendous amount of evidence, cracking in floors, walls and also places where the ground has opened up."
Millers says they are in the process of scheduling depositions. The next step will be court ordered mediation. They are hoping they case can be settled through mediation so that they do not have to go to trial.