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Crisis on Canal Street: Yorktown Pursues Eminent Domain

Just an hour northeast of Indianapolis in Yorktown, In., property owners are fighting to keep their homes from being taken from them by eminent domain. The town’s redevelopment plan is pushing homeowners like Ruby Martin, a 90-year-old blind widow of a two-time war veteran, out of the homes they love and have worked so hard to own.

While eminent domain is for public uses—things like roads and schools—the project proposed by the town involves a mixture of private development and unnecessary public uses that could be built elsewhere. Even if a municipality wants to take someone’s home for, say, a park, the park must be necessary to the public—otherwise there is no limit on the government’s power to take what it wants, for whatever it wants.

Recently, a court ruled in favor of the town against its first victim, Janice Ross, an elderly, long-time resident and widow whose home and property the town wants for a park, a parking lot, and a “sensory mist feature.”

This is wrong. And residents of Yorktown refuse to go down without a fight.

Together with the activism team at the Institute for Justice, Yorktown property owners formed a coalition, Yorktown United, in order to protest the town’s unjust plans. Since then, the group has canvassed the town with yard signs, petitions, and flyers, and is making itself heard through marches and demonstrations, meetings with the press, and speeches to Town Council.

To keep up-to-date with what’s happening in Yorktown, please visit Yorktown United’s Facebook page here.

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