The Cook County Land Bank and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago’s plan to buy up homes in Riverside Lawn makes a lot of sense. Almost the entire area is in a flood plain and the properties have been deluged multiple times in recent years.
And there appear to be enough people in Riverside Lawn interested in the buyout proposal to begin the reconversion of that area to the forest it once was.
But residents are chafing right now, unsure where things stand in the process. The last time they met with county officials was back in early December 2015. At that time, they were told they’d be getting offers for their properties in early to mid-January.
January and February have come and gone, and zilch. The county was supposed to meet with residents on Feb. 24, but the meeting was cancelled and as of late last week there wasn’t another meeting planned.
Now comes word that a second round of property appraisals are needed before the county can make offers for the homes. That’s going to take weeks, we’re guessing, to complete. So, it may not be until later in the spring that Riverside Lawn residents have something in hand to actually ponder.
In the meantime, they don’t know whether to spend money to maintain their homes or keep looking for new places to live. Because it’s impossible to tell whether the sale offers are going to be attractive, there are probably few who would leap and make an offer on a new home first.
Simply put, Riverside Lawn homeowners are in limbo.
While buying out homeowners in Riverside Lawn would eliminate a periodic and expensive headache for county officials who have to deal with flood claims and other matters related to that unincorporated portion of Cook County, it’s not exactly a critical issue for them.
If it takes more time for the county to line everything up, it’s not a huge deal to them. But it is a huge deal to the people whose lives are tied up in those homes and who would like to know for sure where they’re going to be living later on this year.
We’d urge the county to ratchet up the urgency for their sake and provide the information to Riverside Lawn residents that will allow them to get on with their lives.