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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A pothole issue is affecting the appearance of a local church while also providing an escape for drivers looking to avoid a bumpy ride.

Charles Murdock, who is a member of the St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church along East 38th Street, tries to keep the appearance of the property looking good. This time year, he’s staying busy keeping it looking clean.

Several large potholes are scattered in front of the church’s parking lot, which runs the length of the front of the church. The rock and asphalt used to fill in those rocky spots in the road often ends up in the parking lot when rain washes it out of the pothole.

“We’re just trying to take care of the neighborhood, make it look better, keep it looking nice,” said Murdock. “When you have all this yuck out in front, how can you feel proud?”

Murdock, 73, is retired and has spent a few winters out along the road and parking lot trying to keep things tidy. He’ll occasionally get help from other members of the congregation.

“We’ll take wheelbarrows, push brooms, blowers, and take this and get this gravel up so it looks nice in the neighborhood,” said Murdock.

The pothole issue has gotten bad. Our news crew spotted drivers drastically changing their behavior just to avoid damaging their vehicles. Eastbound traffic will often cross the center line to avoid a hole. An IPL driver was seen driving a truck part way up on the sidewalk to avoid the deep potholes.

“I don’t care what kind of a car or truck you’re driving,” said Murdock. “You hit that, you got a problem.”

Traffic heading west will often drive onto the church’s parking lot and stay in it until the end to avoid hitting something. That included an IMPD car Friday afternoon.

Murdock estimated some potholes are six to eight inches deep and are a few feet long.

Past winters, he’s asked for the city to find a permanent fix. He hasn’t gotten his wish.

“I know everybody has the same problems, same complaints, but we’ve asked for this repeatedly,” he said.

A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Public Works said crews are expected to be along the road Saturday to put in hot-mix asphalt which is a more permanent solution compared to the cold-mix that has been used so far that keeps getting swept up by Murdock.

Murdock wants the city to use strip-patching to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Last week the DPW announced it had selected 17 areas in the city to use the technique. That included several blocks of Forest Manor Ave. which is just east of the church. The department said it will add to the list as it finds other streets to address.

“They say they have more money if they were to look at other areas that are deemed necessary and we’re saying we think it’s necessary here,” said Murdock.