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Homes On Chopping Block For Yorktown's Redevelopment Project
Updated November 19, 2018 7:15 AM
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(YORKTOWN) - Yorktown United and the Institute for Justice will be holding a candlelight vigil at 6:30 p.m., tonight in support of Yorktown property owners, threatened with eminent domain.

The vigil will be held at the Yorktown Police Department on Russ Street in Suite 2. There will be a town council meeting at 5:30 p.m. and the vigil will commence at 6:30 p.m. or upon conclusion of the meeting

The town of Yorktown wants to bulldoze a small neighborhood near Morrow's Meadow and remake it into a downtown area, anchored by a tech firm and other private development. The redevelopment plan threatens the beloved homes of long-time, elderly residents with eminent domain: If they do not sell, the town may move to condemn them through eminent domain, for a project that can be reconfigured to accommodate them.

The plan's first victim is Janice Ross, whose property the town will soon acquire--including her home of over 20 years--after a court recently ruled against her. Janice is an 81-year-old widow who loves her home and the decades of memories it represents, but the town wants to take her property for a parking lot, green space and sensory mist feature. Janice will be available for comment.

Nearby, Ruby Martin and Jerry and Sharon Puckett fear the same fate. The town wants to take
90-year-old Ruby's home so it can build a pedestrian bridge to the nearby meadow. But the original plan shows the bridge can be built about three properties east of her home, on land the town already owns. Jerry and Sharon risk losing their home of 52 years for a trivial public space questionably labeled "courtyard/games." In between Ruby's and Jerry's homes, the town wants to build a restaurant.

Indiana law prohibits municipalities from using eminent domain to seize perfectly fine homes for private development.

Yorktown United is a community effort made up of residents and supporters who are dedicated to making the town a better place for all by working with members of the community to revitalize downtown without the use of eminent domain.

The Institute for Justice is a public-interest, civil liberties law firm dedicated to stopping the abuse of eminent domain nationwide. IJ represented Susette Kelo and her neighbors before the U.S. Supreme Court in the infamous Kelo v. City of New London case, which sparked a nationwide movement against eminent domain abuse that continues to this day, with nearly 20,000 homes and businesses saved from condemnation through grassroots activism.

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