Frank Serano lit a candle, stuck it in a slice of cake, placed it in a Kansas City, Missouri, pothole and had a party. The frustrated citizen has complained to the city over a hundred times about the potholes in his neighborhood, Waldo. The newest fracture had been neglected for three months.
“Fellow Waldo neighbors, please help me celebrate the 3rd (month) birthday of this pothole I reported back in March yet is still not repaired,” Sereno wrote in a Facebook post.
Serano, an avid motorcyclist, said he’s driven past gaping pits in the asphalt that could cause damage to any motor vehicle or cause bodily harm from a fall if he hit them.
“I thought, ‘What I can I do to have a little fun,'” Sereno told Tribune Media via Fox 17. “Everyone is always complaining about the potholes, but complaining doesn’t seem to be getting anything done. So I said, I want to keep it top of mind. I know my fellow Waldo neighbors are just as disgusted as I am so I said, let’s just celebrate it’s birthday. It’s third birthday.”
His stunt got the neighbors talking and gained enough attention that local news stations reported the story. Two days after his tongue-in-cheek protest the 2-feet-wide, 3-inch-deep pothole was filled. Serano plans to throw another party in celebration of the newly patched parcel of land.
Since January, almost 200 people have filed claims asking the city to pay for vehicular damage, more than double the rate from the previous year, according to KCUR News. The city defends itself by saying that, in order to get your auto body bills compensated, the city must have known about the pothole before the driver hit it.
City spokesperson Maggie Green told KCUR News in a written statement that it depends on “whether the City had sufficient opportunity to repair the area prior to the incident. The City tries to repair potholes as quickly as possible.”
Kansas City has been fighting a losing battle with the wounded streets. Pothole complaints are at the highest since 2015. The city has recorded nearly four times as many calls as last year and only half of those have been resolved.
Nationally, vehicle repair bills related to potholes cost drivers $15 billion between 2011 and 2016, according to an American Automobile Association survey.
Hundreds of cases of reported potholes in 2019 remain open, according to the Kansas City public works database.