Woman stuck in house because of city’s property division decision


WATSEKA, Ill. (WCIA) — A woman who is disabled hasn’t been able to leave her house for weeks.

She says it’s because the city disregarded her disability when they chose to split a piece of property between hers and the nextdoor neighbor’s.

A city-owned easement sits in between two private properties in Watseka on West North Street. The city divided it and gave equal parts to each homeowner. Deanna Bell says they didn’t take her disability into consideration. Her legs are weak and she can barely stand up. Bell says, “I have a lot of problems with my veins. I’m losing my legs, sooner or later I’m going to lose them.”

She’s wheelchair bound. A ramp was built from her front door down to the driveway so that she can get into the car. She says, “I don’t think I should lose my mobility because she wants a bigger driveway.”

Her next door neighbor asked the city for rights to the city-owned easement that lies between the two properties. The city chose to give about eight feet to her and the other half to Bell. Her next door neighbor dug up her part of of the easement. That’s forced Bell to park her car closer to the concrete slab where she gets out of her wheelchair. Now she doesn’t have enough room to step down to the ground and maneuver into her car. It’s only three inches but without it, there’s a problem.

Bell says, “When you don’t have strength in your legs it makes a big difference. You don’t have the strength, i’m losing strength in my arms to even push up.”

WCIA was unable to get in touch with the neighbor to hear the plan for the land or a response to her complaint. In the meantime, Bell says she’s been stuck at home for weeks and “The city of Watseka does not care about the disabled. If they did this wouldn’t have happened.”

Watseka’s mayor says, since neither of the property owners offered to buy the land, they believe this was the fairest option for both. The city has no plans to change their decision on the division of the easement.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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