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Congregation praying for pothole help

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BATON ROUGE - A church is facing a large obstacle:there's a deep pothole that stretches the width of the road and cars cannot pass.

Recently, the church's calls for help took a turn, which is why the pastor called 2 On Your Side.

Liberty Deaf Assembly of God church is located off Brightside Drive on Harwich Drive. It's a small mission church that sits adjacent to the Louisiana School for the Deaf.

Pastor Cheryl Ragas says two months ago, she found out the hole is not the City's responsibility to fix. The drive where the church is located, along with a number of apartments and homes, is private.

"That's new to us," said Ragas.

Ragas is deaf and everyone who attends her church is either deaf, blind or both. The large hole at its deepest is estimated to be about two and a half feet deep. The ground has caved underneath and cars cannot pass.

Some believe the garbage services in the area contributed to the damage, repeatedly dropping a Dumpster.

The church says it first made calls to the City-Parish in May 2015. Around that time, it says someone with the City-Parish visited the area and patched it with asphalt. Over the last two and a half years, the issue has only gotten worse. Ragas says calls and texts to the City-Parish have not been returned.

"It hindered us," said Ragas. "They should have cooperated with us. We need to know and they need to be honest with us so we know what's going on."

The church bus, which is used to pick up parishioners who can't drive themselves, is permanently parked in the church's lot. It cannot pass the deep hole.

Now, Ragas says her church members must park far off on the street and walk. Navigating the front yards can be dangerous.

"The grass is very hard for them to walk, it's very unbalanced," she said.

Ragas says that had the church known the drive was private and not the City-Parish's responsibility, it would have repaired the road sooner. Now repairs have grown costly. Ragas says it'll cost about $10,000 to dig up the road and put down a new one.

"We don't have enough to pay this and meet our needs too," said Ragas.

This church is hoping its prayers are answered.

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