Contractors began to demolish a garage in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood Tuesday after neighbors say they've complained for years about the danger the unsafe structure posed to the community.
Neighbors surrounding a home in the 1900 block of North Dayton Street said they've complained several times about the garage that looked like it could collapse at any moment, pressing the city to take action.
"Every day I come out of my garage and I open my door and wonder, has the garage come down yet or not?" Anjana Dalal said when NBC 5 Investigates visited the address in May.
When NBC 5 surveyed the property four months ago, a cedar deck covering the garage hung perilously toward the property next door, pushing against utility lines. Overgrown plants sprouted from a planter above and a notice posted in March had declared the garage "a public safety threat, presenting an actual and imminent danger to the public."
"The garage could have collapsed. No question," John Maki, who lives in the house next door, said Wednesday. Maki said he watched as the structure leaned over onto his garage, prompting him to make multiple complaints to the city over the years.
"People were just kind of, I think angry but also confused about why this was allowed to happen," Maki said, indicating that he believed it shouldn't have taken so long for the city to take action.
"It took six years and a story from you," he said. "If this is all indicative of response times, Chicago government has a real set of problems."
In May, the city said officials were working with the homeowner to rectify the issue. City records indicate the property was at one time brought into demolition court, which a spokesman for the Department of Buildings said earlier this year had been rectified after the homeowner agreed to certain remedial actions.
The homeowner, who asked not to be identified, said Wednesday that she had hired contractors of her own accord to take down the structure in part because she "got sick and tired of little pissants bothering" her.
She added that she's "always" worked with the city on the issue and that the city workers were "very professional" in her dealings with them. She also emphasized that "building code violations are between the homeowner and the city," adding, "It is no one else's business."