Joliet has agreed to buy the house of a man whose sinking garage has been a problem for 13 years.
The city will pay $126,000 for Andre Dixon’s house at 10 S. Richards St.
The City Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to approve the deal in which the city buys back the house it sold to Dixon in the 1990s in a subdivision developed by the city to provide affordable housing.
Dixon thought he had the same price worked out three years ago, but the City Council then did not move ahead with the purchase.
“I’m just glad that it’s resolved,” Dixon said Friday. “I want to thank all the City Council members for this. They’re the ones who made this possible.”
Dixon bought the house for $60,000 in the 1998 in the Richards Grove subdivision.
But the garage began to sink 10 years later.
The city replaced the garage, but the second garage began sinking in 2016. Dixon has a big dip in his driveway, which also is sinking. The house has other problems related to the unstable ground below.
City officials have attributed the problems to debris and pipes remaining from a burnt-down Gerlach Barklow calendar factory. Joliet converted the site to affordable housing.
Councilman Larry Hug said the city should never try something like it again.
“The precedent was created, and I hope we never do this again as a city in that the city tried to pretend it was a developer,” Hug said, adding that the city “overstepped its boundaries” by getting into the residential development business.
Other council members pointed to the city’s responsibility for the faulty home.
“Once we realized there was an issue and tried to make it right, it would appear that we did not make it right,” Councilman Pat Mudron said in reference to the new garage that is sinking like the old one.
“What are we going to do with the home now?” Councilman Terry Morris asked.
“I think that’s a subject for future council discussions,” replied interim City Manager Steve Jones.
No other houses in the subdivision have showed the same problems.