Charlestown residents continue fight to preserve neighborhood


by Alex Schuman

Posted on July 7, 2014 at 11:58 PM

CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (WHAS11) – Crowds waited outside Charlestown City Hall Monday evening with a serious message.

“Demolishing the Pleasant Ridge neighborhood will send a deafening message that the American dream is at risk in Charlestown,” Melinda Haring said.

Haring works for the Institute for Justice out of Arlington, Virginia.

The group specializes in helping neighborhoods like Pleasant Ridge protect themselves from eminent domain.

"They claim that the homes in the Pleasant Ridge neighborhood are transcient, temporary, and that people are coming and going.  I think this is false.  I believe the people who live there believe this to be false."

Community members asked Haring to come with them to a city council meeting to speak on their behalf to Charlestown Mayor Bob Hall.

"I've gone on TV - this is early in the stage," Mayor Hall stressed.

The mayor took time both after and before Haring spoke to try to calm community members down about the city destroying homes.

"On the 24th they would make an announcement, but then there'd been a series of meetings that'd take place after that," he said.

Mayor Hall denies many allegations that he lowered property taxes on purpose and says change must happen for Charlestown to succeed.

"Everybody agrees that there's a problem -- that a lot of homes need to be taken down," he said.

Members of the neighborhood association are okay with 20 to 30 homes getting demolished but want to find a way for some of the money to be used to repair long-time residents’ homes.
"It's just the beginning here.  I believe as long as they've got their views and we've got our views we'll never meet in the middle.  But I believe if things will meet in the middle - then things will work out smooth for everyone," Charlestown resident Josh Craven said.

Charlestown will find out if they will get any part of the grant on July 24.

The Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood is asking for donations in the preparation for any possible legal action they may take.