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Wheelchair Ramp Brings All Kinds Of Trouble At City Hall

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Wheelchair file photo (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Wheelchair file photo (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A new wheelchair ramp being built at City Hall reportedly is plagued with so many problems that it’s being called the project from hell.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, the new Z-shaped ramp leading to City Council chambers is being paid for with a nearly $500,000 Tax Increment Financing District grant. But the Chicago Sun-Times reports now, the ramp project has been stalled and has gotten even more expensive, because of a series of mistakes by the contractor.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

Sources tell the paper that initially, the ramp was a fraction of an inch too steep. Then, there were gaps between the panes of glass in the space between the brass handrail and the floor.

Finally, the rail itself was wobbly and had sharp edges that could have cut someone, the Sun-Times reported.

In addition to the physical problems with the ramp, Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) has complained that the money for the ramp was taken from the LaSalle-Central TIF without his permission, the Sun-Times reported. City officials justified the move by claiming the city does not need aldermanic consent to use TIF money for government buildings, the Sun-Times reported.

In a TIF district, property tax dollars for schools, parks, and other taxing districts are frozen for at least 23 years, so that all property tax increases afterward to go into a fund to improve struggling neighborhoods. But critics call them a slush fund for the mayor or the aldermen who control them.

City Department of General Services and fleet Management Commissioner David Reynolds insists the contractor, Darien-based Wight & Co., will have to absorb the extra costs, and they will not come out of taxpayer money, the Sun-Times reported.

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