This past Tuesday 93 year old Mattie Jackson and the remaining residents on her block held a press conference declaring that they will refuse to leave their homes despite the City’s threat to demolish their homes and build a park and a Japanese style retention pond. Immediately following the press conference residents and supporters, including dozens of children marched through the community passing our yard signs and advertising a “Save Our Block” BBQ Thursday 9/17 at7pm at 163 Ormond Ave SE.
Peoplestown residents attended an Urban Design Commission meeting last week to express outrage that their homes, which do not flood and require no flood insurance, are slated to be demolished to make way for an Old Fourth Ward style park and pond. It has become clear that the City does not plan to budge, despite the community’s concern over mass displacement and gentrification and concerns expressed by several members of the Urban Design Commission about the efficacy of the proposed plan.
93 year old neighborhood hero Mattie Jackson stated, “I’m not leaving, if I have to sleep on the floor I will.” But it’s not just Mattie Jackson who plans to stand her ground. Tanya Washington, a law professor who lives at 148 Atlanta Ave states, “I’ve worked with engineers who say the City’s plan is flawed and reflects outdated engineering. The City rejected a plan presented by the firm it retained that would not require displacement. We’ve been told by the City if we don’t accept insultingly low offers they will take our homes. Displacing people with a plan that does not work is irresponsible government, and I shall not be moved!”
On Tuesday the remaining Peoplestown residents made it it clear why they have decided not to leave their homes and presented the press with information on alternative plans to deal with flooding that wouldn’t require demolishing a block in the heart of the Peoplestown community.
Last week an online petition was launch that’s already approaching 5k signatures: http://start2.occupyourhomes.org/petitions/stand-with-93-yr-old-mattie-jackson-community-hero
The Dept of Watershed's own expert, other engineers and environmental organizations have proposed plans that will be less costly, more efficient, and more sustainable and will not call for the displacement of homeowners.
The Urban Development Commission expressed concerns about the City's plans to demolish homes in Peoplestown and about the City's failure to provide residents with any notice of the petition hearing. Despite these concerns, the City is moving forward with its plans which includes demolition of several homes that the City does not own and which do not flood.
Residents of Peoplestown, including 93 year old civil rights activist Mattie Jackson, are opposed to these plans and refuse to give in to the City's threats to take and demolish their homes.