CHICAGO (CBS) — Sinkholes can be annoying and even dangerous – but on one Englewood neighborhood block, they have been causing even more problems than that.
As CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reported, a sinkhole has been making life very difficult for a homeowner with disabilities who is now without his parking space.
“I’m too old to be going through all that crap,” said Willie Smith.
It is difficult for Smith to talk, to get around, and even to breathe. That is why the 40-year Englewood resident relies so much on the disabled parking spot he pays for in front of his home.
But now, Smith can’t use it – because there is a sinkhole smack in the middle of it, concealed by an orange cone. And he says this is nothing new.
“It’s six months since this hole been like this,” Smith said.
Smith said he has called the office of Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) and the city at least a dozen times. He said they promised to get the sinkhole fixed.
“All they did was put them things out – the little flags, and that was it,” Smith said. “And every time I call, (they say), ‘We’ll be out,’ but don’t nobody show up.”
Then, a few weeks ago, Smith said a city worker told him his car might fall into the street if he ever tried to park over the hole.
“It is very stressful,” Smith said. “I go to the doctor’s, if I don’t get back here a certain time, I ain’t got no parking space.”
For Smith, that is a physical hardship.
“I own my home, I pay my water bill, I pay my taxes, I do everything that a citizen’s supposed to do,” he said. “But they don’t do their part.”
Ald. Sawyer’s chief of staff told Kozlov they have a record that Smith called Tuesday, adding that the Water Management Department is aware. Sawyer’s chief of staff expects the hole will be filled “soon.”
Smith said he has heard it all before.
“They don’t take care of this part over here for nothing,” he said. “They told me so many times, ‘We’ll be out and about; we’ll be out another day; don’t worry, somebody’s coming out here. Don’t nothing happen.”
Smith pays $25 a year for the space.
On Wednesday night, a city representative echoes what the alderman’s chief of staff said, saying the Department of Water Management is investigating the situation and will take appropriate steps to address it as soon as possible.
CBS 2 will keep tabs.