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Property taxes turning American dreams into Illinois nightmares


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For generations of black Chicagoans, the suburb of Matteson was a beacon. Moving there meant you had made it. It was a place where black wealth was not only accepted, but celebrated.

The pride of the village since its opening in 1973 was the Lincoln Mall on U.S Route 30 and Cicero Avenue. Anchored by stores like Carson Pirie Scott and Montgomery Ward, it was the place to see and be seen.

That’s the Matteson Patricia Hill grew up admiring.


She was raised in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. And when she and her husband were raising their two daughters, they chose Matteson, buying a two-story home in a quiet residential neighborhood for $315,000 in 2003.


But things are different now. Visions of the community’s future no longer bring comfort. Instead, they inspire crippling fear.

“This is supposed to be the American Dream for me and my family … I’m holding on to everything I can, but I’m losing because of this house,” Patricia said.

“It’s a nightmare.”

She believes her home is now worth $215,000. Her property tax bill is more than $10,000 a year. And she has twice been on the cusp of foreclosure.:snip:

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