CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (WHAS11) -- It doesn't look like much right now with its piles of dirt and construction equipment scattered across the plot of land, but for the city of Charlestown, Indiana, this lot is their promise to its senior citizens.
"It's huge for us for them to be able to see the city's going to keep its commitment and put affordable housing together, allow people to move into a new home," Charlestown Mayor Bob Hall said.
The plot off Fulkerson Drive is the site of the new Springville Manor, according to Hall, a senior affordable housing project. Hall said priority for the housing units will be given to seniors living in the Pleasant Ridge neighborhood, which the city is trying to redevelop. A developer has been buying up houses in the neighborhood, hoping to demolish them and rebuild in its place.
"They got trapped. As property values went down there and it became rental properties, they couldn't sell their home in Pleasant Ridge and go buy a new home in the marketplace because the value's not there in their home anymore," Hall said.
"I'd rather go ahead and let my house go and move here," Jeanetta Jackson, a Pleasant Ridge resident, said. "It's going to be a lot - It was going to happen sooner or later."
Jackson said she has lived in Charlestown for the past 57 years. She will be on the first people to move into Springville Manor when it is completed. Residents are expected to move in by the fall, according to Hall.
"I'd like it to be today, myself. I'm anxious to get with," Jackson said. "I've been watching them every week."
"Why this is so huge for us, for many of these seniors, this is the first home they will ever live in," Hall said.
The process has not been without backlash. The Charlestown Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association has filed a suit against the city of Charlestown and its Board of Public Works, with some residents claiming the city is trying to force them out with high-priced fines.
"They've been there. Their kids live with them, their grandkids," Jackson said. "I understand them, but I'm not one of them."
"This is a process. Nobody's coming to their house tomorrow to tell them they have to move or anything," Hall said. "This is saying we will continue to work with people individually to help make the transaction."
According to Hall, the city will be spending $800,000 on the infrastructure of the project. Hall said the city will also be setting aside $20,000 per home in the form of a forgivable note, along with $35,000 per home in the form of a loan that would be paid back to the city.
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