Blind Indiana woman back home following 2013 eviction that stemmed from tax-recording error

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CEDAR LAKE, Indiana — A blind woman who was evicted from her lakeside home of more than half a century two years ago has been allowed to move back in after the northwestern Indiana community granted her ownership of the cottage until she dies.

Dolores Pittman, 68, recently moved back into her longtime home in Cedar Lake from an apartment in Lowell where she had been living. She was evicted from the home after Lake County officials sold it in a tax sale due to unpaid property taxes that resulted from a tax-recording error.

After that error was discovered, Cedar Lake officials negotiated the lot's purchase and granted Pittman ownership of it last fall for the rest of her life.

Pittman said she recently took a nap at home and awoke feeling almost like she was in a dream.

"I woke up, I first thought I was still down there and then I realized, no, I'm really home," she told The (Munster) Times (http://bit.ly/1yZmZyO ).

Pittman was evicted in December 2013 ahead of a court order granting it to a Porter County man who bought it for $43 in a county auction of tax delinquent properties.

Pittman, a former librarian who lost her eyesight to an infection three decades ago, had moved with her family into the cottage in 1958. She owned the house, but not the small parcel of land beneath it, which belonged to a church group that rented cottages as part of a summer resort.

That church group eventually sold most of its holdings, but not Pittman's parcel, to the Town of Cedar Lake for a municipal park that now surrounds her house.

Pittman thought her lot was transferred to the town and regularly paid the town rent for it. But the church group stopped paying taxes on the lot and county officials, who didn't know Pittman lived there, put it up for sale. The county also sent tax notices to the church group instead of to Pittman.

Now that she's back home, Pittman said there's a "silver lining" to her ordeal. Before her eviction, her house was in poor shape, but last fall, volunteers refurbished its roof, floors and aging kitchen and bathroom.

"If I hadn't been out of the house last year, I'd be sitting here on a caved in floor and the roof leaking," she said.


Information from: The Times, http://www.thetimesonline.com

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