CHICAGO (CBS) — Some neighbors in the northwest suburbs say town officials are walking all over them to lay down new sidewalks. They are also being threatened to pay up, even though there are no plans yet to build them.
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports it is happening in unincorporated Roselle, a neighborhood dating back to the early 60s – a time when suburban sidewalks were not common.
The neighborhood is unincorporated, getting its sewer service from the Village of Roselle. Neighbors said Roselle is demanding they pay thousands of dollars to install new sidewalks in exchange for their continued service; but say the city has no plans to build sidewalks in their neighborhood.
The residents of countryside Roselle are taking a stand. For decades, the unincorporated neighborhood has received sewer service from the Village of Roselle.
“I feel like they are extorting us,” stated Carrie Johnson of unincorporated Roselle. “They are threatening us with a sewer over a sidewalk.”
Most of their agreements are up and the village is asking about $5,000 a home to potentially build sidewalks if the neighborhood is ever annexed into the village.
“It’s like stealing to me. It’s like stealing,” said Sal Lazzara, another resident. “If you are going to take my money, okay. Do something about it. Put it on. At least I’ll know what I’m paying for.”
“You are taking money from someone and not giving them anything in return,” Jim Jonson agreed.
Residents in the area charge the village has no annexation plans, no real intentions to build sidewalks, but definite plans to take action if the homeowners do not pay.
“They are going to shut off sewer service, making the homes uninhabitable, which will condemn them,” stated Carrie Johnson.
Neighbors have tried to contest the plans since last January, but with a deadline looming this week, they are also worried about those on the block that simply can’t afford it.
“There’s an older lady down there, 90-years-old,” said Lazzara. “They are gonna suffocate her. Make her pay $5K for what? An imaginary sidewalk?”
About 20 homes would be impacted by the payments.
CBS 2 reached out to the Village of Roselle, where Village officials said they have no comment.
Mayor Andy Maglio told CBS 2 in an email the Village is reevaluating its pre-annexation agreements.