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Canaryville man says dangerous hole has been in his alley apron for years, with no fix from city

Canaryville man says dangerous hole has been in his alley for years, with no fix from city
Canaryville man says dangerous hole has been in his alley for years, with no fix from city 02:33

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Canaryville neighborhood resident has seen a man thrown from his wheelchair, and another neighbor with a walker fall down – all because of a dangerous alley next to his home.

As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported Wednesday, it is something the resident, Frank, has been dealing with for years – with no action from the city or alderman.

Adding another layer of woe to the problem is that the hole is now in a different aldermanic ward than it was when this all started.

Frank, who does not want us to use his last name, said the alley apron hole is a real problem for one of his neighbors – who is in a wheelchair. That neighbor is the one who has been tossed to the pavement.

"I have a gentleman who lives three doors down in a wheelchair, who will come hit the hole, and then hit the lip on the alley – and will sometimes get thrown out of his wheelchair, if not jerked," Frank said.

The hole is right by the sidewalk. Frank says in freezing weather, it fills with water and freezes. He has been trying to get the city to fix is for years.

He said the problem has been persisted for "every bit of five years."

That means almost five years of 311 calls, reports to the city's 311 app, and emails to former Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th) – who is now in prison on a corruption conviction. Some of Frank's correspondence about the hole dates back to 2019.

"You see in the emails, 'Oh, we're going to come out – we're going to do the whole alley, the apron, and everything,'" Frank said with a frustrated sigh.

Some hope arrived the day before Thanksgiving last week. A city worker came out and painted areas the city was going to fix – including Frank's alley apron.

"He came back literally a half hour, 45 minutes later," Frank said. "I'm like, 'What are you doing? 'He's like: 'I'm X'ing it out. We're not fixing this. We're fixing all the other ones on the block and the next block – not this one."

Frank's plight has now hit a few more bumps. A staffer in the office of new Ald. Nicole Lee (11th) said they have no record of Frank's requests about the hole. Hours later, someone working with Lee called to tell Kozlov they did, in fact, have a record of Frank's requests – which were actually approved and placed in the hands of the Chicago Department of Transportation.

That sounds straightforward. But it's not.

Frank's house was in the 11th Ward until June 1, when the city's map went into effect. Now, it's in the 15th Ward – where Ray Lopez serves as alderman.

Even though Ald. Lopez says he would like to get the hole fixed soon, CDOT is not adhering to the new map – so it's not up to Lopez.

"Frustrating," Frank said.

Ald. Lopez said no matter what, the alley apron will be repaved with concrete – like many others in this new area of his ward. But that won't be until next summer.

We never heard back from the Chicago Department of Transportation. 

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