Indiana residents are fighting to save their homes as their local government weighs a sweeping plan to demolish them to make way for new development, in a case critics are calling a “poster child” for the abuse of so-called eminent domain powers.
Charlestown, Ind., Mayor Bob Hall announced his plans earlier this year to demolish more than 350 homes in the city’s Pleasant Ridge neighborhood. The mayor contends the neighborhood is “blighted,” and therefore the city is eligible for state money to buy out the homeowners and tear down their houses.
His office argues the houses, originally bought by the Army in 1940, were meant to be temporary.
But the “temporary” houses remain very much occupied. And many residents are not interested in selling them, at least not for what the government might offer. According to the Institute for Justice, a national group that is aiding residents in their case, the state fund Hall wants to tap offers residents just $6,000 for their houses.
“We’re not transients. We’re real people,” Ellen Keith, who has lived with her husband David in their Pleasant Ridge home for 36 years, told FoxNews.com. “These people are my real neighbors, and I love my neighbors. … My house is not for sale.”