Sidewalk collapse has Rise Up Festival organizers warning vendors for next years event

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ST. LOUIS – Days after a sidewalk collapse in downtown St. Louis dropping a man driving a forklift into a garage underneath, the Rise Up Festival event organizers are speaking out.

In the midst of all the local food, arts and music, one vendor found himself in the hospital after using a forklift and now organizers say he should’ve never been on it in the first place.

Cellphone video shows literally moments after a side walk collapsed dropping a man driving a forklift into an underground garage.

The incident happened just outside the Rise Up Festival, an annual celebration to recognize the revitalization of downtown St. Louis that brings out thousands of people.

“He was in the process of going to pick up more supplies to resupply the fair when for some unknown reason, the sidewalk gave way,” St. Louis Police Lieutenant Donnell Jones said.

“He was one of the vendors here, but I don’t think anyone expected him to have a caterpillar driving on the sidewalk,” Stephen Acree said.

Acree is the President of Rise Community Development.

Acree said he understands wanting to get more supplies for the large number of customers at the fair, but didn’t see the need for extra mechanical help.

“This area of the city the sidewalks are very wide,” he said. “They extend out over extended basements from these buildings so there are actually vaults underneath the sidewalk and you really shouldn’t be riding a piece of heavy equipment over them.”

On Saturday, Police quickly blocked off the area and the festival continued.

Right now, there’s a fence locking in the open sidewalk with a wooden board on top that reads “Danger Hole”.

Acree said this is a result of poor judgement, more than the city’s infrastructure and it’s yet another warning he’s going to have to let vendors know for next year’s festival.

“Yea, I guess it’s one of those things when it happens I guess it’s a thing where it’s like ‘I guess we’ll have to warn about that one!” Acree said.

The man involved was taken away in an ambulance and was expected to make a full recovery.

To learn more about the Rise Up community development, click here.

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