Sunday, January 11, 2015

Indiana town moves to seize over 350 homes to make room for private developer

“We’re not transients. We’re real people.... My house is not for sale.”

A resident mows his lawn in the  Pleasant Ridge neighborhood of Charlestown, Indiana.  (Source: Facebook)
A resident mows his lawn in the Pleasant Ridge neighborhood of Charlestown, Indiana. (Source: Facebook)
CHARLESTOWN, IN — A town is working to “demolish a working-class neighborhood” by seizing 354 homes and passing the land off to a private commercial developer. Using federal dollars and the highly-abused power of eminent domain, the city intends to evict multitudes of families to make way for economic progress.
The community under fire is called “Pleasant Ridge.” It contains hundreds of small homes that were built during World War II as military housing. Today the homes are privately-owned and contain working-class and poor families, many of which have owned their homes for decades.
The City of Charlestown intends to demolish the community in order to allow new commercial and residential real estate to be built in its place — privately-owned real estate.  The city declared its intentions in June 2014, when it applied to the state for permission to use eminent domain and for $5.3 million in “Hardest Hit Funds,” a federal grant program administered through Indiana’s Blight Elimination Program (BEP).  The land grab might not have been economically feasible if not for being directly subsidized and incentivized by the federal government.