CHICAGO (CBS) — Why does a large puddle linger behind David Johnson’s garage in an otherwise dry alley? He’s been asking his alderman the same question for years.
When CBS 2 Investigator Dorothy Tucker started asking questions, she discovered where taxpayer dollars are going instead of fixing the problem.
“It’s overwhelming. You can go fishing out here in the puddle of water,” Johnson said.
Johnson began complaining in earnest about the problem two years ago, when he started some home improvement projects. Photos taken in June 2017 show a large puddle of water in the alley behind his garage.
The problem has only gotten worse, after record rainfall in Chicago in May 2018 and May 2019.
For days after a rain storm, the puddle stays outside Johnson’s garage, even when the rest of the alley has dried.
“It’s outrageous,” Johnson said.
So what’s going on, and why can’t Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) use some of his $1.3 million menu budget on fixing this watery mess?
“My alderman indicated that if we fix your end, then the water will probably find another place to stand. So that wouldn’t be fair for the neighbors to get the water and I get rid of the water,” Johnson said.
According to budget records, 38 of the city’s 50 wards spent money resurfacing alleys in 2018. For example, the 49th Ward near Rogers Park spent more than $648,000.
However, the last time the 21st Ward spent money on resurfacing an alley was in 2015.
“I pay a lot of taxes. I think I deserve to have that area paved correctly so the water doesn’t become stagnant here in front of my garage,” Johnson said.
Brookins did spend a lot of his menu money last year fixing other issues; including an estimated $297,000 to resurface six blocks of Ashland Avenue, and $280,000 to repair sidewalks – including a stretch on Johnson’s block.
“We all deserve the same services from the city,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he hopes promises of a solution this year become reality.
The Chicago Department of Transportation said there is no approved alley work in the 21st Ward as of Wednesday, but plans could be working their way through the system.
Brookins’s office did not repond to questions about Johnson’s complaints.