Rio Grande City community helping woman obtain permit to build a bathroom

1 month 21 hours 47 minutes ago Wednesday, April 17 2024 Apr 17, 2024 April 17, 2024 10:25 AM April 17, 2024 in News - Local

A number of people in Rio Grande City are trying to help a woman get a permit to build a bathroom inside her home.

For decades, Juana Rangel used an outhouse and the community is stepping up to try and change that, but they say the city is putting up red tape preventing them from helping her.

The city says it's a complicated process involving homeownership issues and rules that didn't exist decades ago. But the community that is trying to help Rangel say there's nothing complicated about basic necessities.

"I'm 74 years old, I'm scared I could fall or break a foot," Rangel said.

She says she's asked for help connecting to city drainage, but it's never panned out. Now her community is stepping up for her.

Maria Elia Ramos is one of the people who are trying to help build Rangel a bathroom inside her home and get her connected to city sewage.

"She's living in a very hazardous, and I'm not even talking about the bathroom. I'm talking about the situation that there's pipes, all kinds of pipes or things that anybody can fall down," Ramos said.

A contractor who applied for a construction permit for Rangel was told to provide the home's ownership documentation along with the application after the city found that Rangel does not own the property she lives in.

Rangel has lived at the home before Rio Grande City became an official city with rules about things like property ownership. 

"Some of these properties are predating the incorporation of the city," Rio Grande City Mayor Joel Villarreal said. "We are seeking colonia grants, as well as federal grants, to lessen the burden on our taxpayers, to make sure we update the infrastructure, because retrofitting some of this infrastructure takes a lot more money."

Villarreal wants to make it clear, they're still working on issuing the permit for the contractor to build Rangel a bathroom.

In the end, Rangel hopes it will come through, but bathroom or not, she's staying in the home she knows. 

The city says until they get more documentation about the ownership of the property, they won't give the permit that's needed to build the bathroom.

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