In the midst of a court battle, emails surfaced that were written by a former City of Atlanta engineer, who was the project manager for the proposed park and pond, stating that the City didn’t have the necessary engineering to support the taking and demolition of an entire block of homes. Those emails were written in 2013, BEFORE the first home was demolished. The engineer, Kimberly Scott, testified in court, under oath, that the actions of the City were neither necessary nor justified and she testified before City Council and asked them to “correct [the] wrong.”
(See the emails )
After years of protest, online petitions, and media coverage current Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms agreed to meet with one of the families, Mr. Robert and Bertha Darden, to discuss their desire that the lawsuits be withdrawn and they be allowed to stay in the home they have lived in and raised their children and grandchildren in for over 30 years. During that April 30 2019 meeting the shared with Mayor Bottoms the evidence that clearly showed that the City should have never sued them in the first place for their homes and provided her with alternative plans for the block developed by the engineering firm they hired to assist them in the litigation.
The left the meeting, which a press release from the Mayor’s office described as “productive”, hopeful that a resolution was near. Nine months passed and the heard nothing from the Mayor and the litigation continues. In December 2019 the and Tanya Washington, with the support of the Housing Justice League, planned a rally on the steps of city hall and a sit-in in Mayor Bottoms’ office. After 11 hours, senior officials, Rashad Taylor and Rev Eric Thomas reached out on behalf of the Mayor and expressed a desire and intention to bring the matter to an end before the Christmas holidays. Residents left city hall and went home to their families with the expectation that the matter would be resolved before Christmas and certain that they would not carry the 7-year fight into the New Year. There was a sense of relief at the thought of lifting this burden.