LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Amongst the fans tailgating before Saturday's Louisville City FC match was a group of people. Instead of waving team flags, they held signs and banners. Instead of rooting on the home team, they were there hoping to protect their homes.
"We don't want to go nowhere. We shouldn't have to go nowhere," Dora Cornett said. "We are free and clear of our homes. We have no mortgage."
"We would love to see our homes, our communities safe," Josh Craven, the president of the Charlestown Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association, said. "We firmly believe three years later, we'll still be able to see that."
Homeowners in the Pleasant Ridge community in Charlestown protested outside Slugger Field ahead of Louisville City FC's final regular season home game, targeting Louisville City FC Chairman John Neace, who also serves as the chairman of Neace Ventures. The homeowners have accused Neace of buying up property in Pleasant Ridge hoping to redevelop the neighborhood.
"It's in court records that he is intentionally trying to drive our property values down, intentionally in order to purchase our homes at a cheaper rate," Craven said.
"The lawns aren't mowed. They put plywood on the windows and doors," Cornett said. "And so like they look really bad."
Residents like Cornett, who has lived in her home in Pleasant Ridge for the last 39 years, said Neace has been purposefully devaluing the neighborhood.
"I guess they call us a lower class citizen because I'm on disability, but I'm still a person," she said.
Now the homeowners want Louisville soccer fans to know about their chairman, especially with the team looking to build a new stadium, which is looking for around $30 million in taxpayer funds. Louisville Metro Council is expected to vote on the stadium funding later this month.
"That's the way he's operated and that's the way he'll continue to operate," Craven said. "And if they agree to give him $30 million, he's liable to do something of that nature over here also."
The Pleasant Ridge homeowners understand it's an uphill battle trying to appeal to the fans to care about their homes in Charlestown, but they are confident their message will be heard.
"If we can reach 10 people over here and 10 people can look at it differently and then those 10 people can leave here today and to tell 10 more, that's how the snowball works," Craven said.
According to Craven, the homeowners are waiting to hear back from a Scott County judge about an injunction filed earlier this year that blocks Charlestown officials from inspecting their homes.
WHAS11 reached out to Louisville City FC, which declined to comment and directed questions to Neace Ventures. WHAS11 has also sent Neace Ventures an email, which has not been responded at this time.
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