(YORKTOWN) – Today, Yorktown United will physically deliver more than 105,000 petition signatures from across the country to the town council at 5 p.m. before the town council meeting at 5:30 p.m.
The petition is in opposition to the condemnation of the homes of elderly residents for the town’s Downtown Redevelopment Plan.
Elderly residents Sharon and Jerry Puckett – the authors of the petition and Ruby Martin and Janice Ross risk losing their homes.
Yorktown officials want 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 homes of long-time, elderly residents with eminent domain: If they do not sell, the town may move to condemn the property through eminent domain.
Janice Ross is an 81-year-old widow whose property the town will soon acquire – including her home of more than 20 years – after a court recently ruled against her. The town wants to take her property for a parking lot, green space and sensory mist feature.
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.
Melanie Benit, an Activism Associate with the Institute for Justice says 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 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.
More than 105,000 people from coast to coast who signed the petition agree that taking the homes for this development – which could be built a couple blocks away on the town-owned property as an abuse of eminent domain.
Assisting in the battle are:
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 Yorktown without the use of eminent domain.
The Institute for Justice 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 over 20,000 homes and businesses saved from condemnation through grassroots activism.