Atlanta neighbors try to avoid eviction, demolition of homes - CBS46 News

Atlanta neighbors try to avoid eviction, demolition of homes

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

A group of neighbors in the Peoplestown part of Atlanta hopes a last-minute petition drive can save their homes from demolition. The city has offered to buy their homes and move them out to make way for a drainage pond and park, but some homeowners are refusing to sell.

“I’ve been here all my life,” says 93-year-old Maddie Jackson. She does not want to move and several of her neighbors are rallying around her.

On Tuesday, they stood on the front porch chanting, “Save Maddie’s house.”  The house is one of 28 homes slated for demolition so that the city can create a park with a series of drainage ponds.

Jackson is among the six homeowners the city has yet to reach a settlement with in the Peoplestown neighborhood. If they don’t agree to sell in the next two days, the city is threatening legal action to evict them.

“We don’t want to get there. We don’t want to get to eminent domain. What we want to do is get to a fair market value, plus 20 percent to help those homeowners get to a place where they’re gonna be safe.

Their homes are in a flood plain,” says Lillian Govus, communications director for the Atlanta’s Department of Watershed.

Flooding continues to be an intermittent problem in Peoplestown. Just last week, several yards were underwater after a hard rain. The city says they need somewhere for storm runoff and sewage to drain. So their plan is take an entire city block and turn it into a park, similar to one that’s already been created at Old Fourth Ward Park.

“We want to provide amenities. If you look there, you see people jogging, working out,” said Govus.

Yet some of the homeowners along Atlanta Avenue and Ormond Street say what the city is offering is way too low. Tanya Washington said the city appraised her home at $230,000. She calls it “an insult.”

“Well the reality is the neighborhood is a hot place and so the longer the wait, the higher value is going up,” says Washington. She has no plans to sell or move.

“This is our home. This is where we have our Christmas dinners and Thanksgiving dinners. This is where we entertain our families. This is where we plan to raise our child,” says Washington, who says she’s four months pregnant.

The city has no plans to scrap this project though. Govus says they will begin demolition with the next two weeks on the homes they’ve already agreed to purchase.

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