Portage Park’s 18-month-long stalled construction site aggravates residents

WGN Investigates
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CHICAGO — Is there a stalled construction site in your neighborhood?  In one Portage Park block, residents have been waiting for a construction site to be completed for at least 18 months.

They said it has become a public safety hazard with high weeds and standing water. It turns out they are not alone. There are other stalled projects throughout the city.  One Chicago Lawn home has been under construction for two years with building code violations slowing it down.

Harry Meyer is with the Southwest Organizing Project, a nonprofit that works to buy and fix up vacant homes in the Chicago Lawn and Gage Park neighborhoods.  He said, “any vacant house has a negative effect. Depending on what else is going on in the block, it could end up multiplying into more vacant properties.”

It’s difficult to get an accurate count of how many projects are stalled and sometimes taking years to complete.  One way to narrow it down is to look at the work stoppage orders issued by the city.  In 2018, the City of Chicago issued 1,701 work stoppage orders.  So far this year, the number sits at 754.

When it comes to the home in Portage Park, Chicago’s Department of Buildings Commissioner Judy Frydland said, “we will do everything possible so that they can get this built and the neighbors no longer have to deal with it.”

Residents are frustrated with a slow court process to address some of the issues.  36th Ward Alderman Gilbert Villegas has been looking into a legislative fix, but until that happens neighbors have to rely on the process.


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