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Homeowners Frustrated While Wall Being Rapaired

LATONIA, Ky. (Joe Webb) -- The latest in the collapse of a huge retaining wall back in December is crews are on the scene and they're making progress.

But they've been hampered by snow and bitter cold so the work is taking longer than first hoped.  Homeowners aren't losing patience.  They've lost patience. 

"Off and on we come down. We came down when the lady next door got broke into."

Peggy Owings lived at 3407 Caroline for 71 years, until December 13th when the wall collapse took most of her front yard and forced her out.  Friday, she came back to check on the progress.  Crews were busy putting in steel pilings and pouring concrete but a temporary wall is a long way from finished.

"The weather they're working in, they have my sympathy but my sympathy's really with me. I want to get back in my home."

Owings was originally told she would be out a couple of weeks.  That turned into a month.  It's now closer to two months.  The city of Covington is spending between $200- $300-thousand and bypassed the bidding process to speed things up.

It's the city's goal to have the citizens back in their homes February 8th.  That's not a hard date but that's the city's goal. 

Owings is living with a niece and nephew in Petersburg.  Her tenant next door is renting from her attorney.  Others are staying with family.  The Red Cross provided housing for a couple of days.  But other than that, the displaced residents have been on their own.

They want help but who would pay?  The city says it's not its fault the wall collapsed.  It's on their right-of-way but contractors were doing repair work on the street when something broke a water main and the wall fell.

"Right now, they're still in the mode of pointing fingers at each other. That's all they're doing. Nobody will step up and take responsibility."

Peggy Owings doesn't care whose fault it is.  She just knows it's not hers.

"I think it's a disgrace to the city of Covington and anybody involved with Covington with the people that pay gas, electric, water, sanitation and taxes that somebody didn't open the front door and say, 'We got four people out here on the street with no place to go. Can we offer them something?'"

Peggy Owings owns two of the homes on Caroline.  She rents one of them and her tenant's house was broken into earlier this week and ransacked.  They aren't sure if anything was taken but it's just insult added to injury.

Residents are not only worried about housing costs and lost food they're really worried what kind of shape their homes will be in after sitting through sub-zero temperatures like we've seen this month.  The city of Covington says the best case scenario is that they will get a temporary wall finished by next Friday.  Once that's complete, Duke Energy can come in and set temporary poles and turn on the electricity to the four homes.

The city engineer says the rain in the forecast could slow things down again.




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