Jim and JoAnn Saleet first saw their dream home in 1965. The house on Gridley Street in Lakewood, Ohio, was perfect for the couple. It was in a cozy neighborhood and had a sweeping view of the Rocky River and valley. Jim and JoAnn wanted that home the moment they first stepped into the yard and saw the breathtaking view of fall foliage aglow in the valley. Standing together in that yard back in 1965, they decided that they would buy the place and never move again. This was where they would raise their children and stay for the rest of their lives. Over the next 38 years, they made many improvements to the house and continued to enjoy their beautiful view as they gardened. They promised their daughter, Judy, who lives nearby and loves her childhood home, that they would leave the house to her and her family.
The Saleets, however, are not the only ones who wanted to enjoy that beautiful view. After nearly 40 years happily ensconced in their home, the Saleets were stunned when then-Mayor Madeline Cain announced that, to increase the city’s tax base, the City was helping a developer replace their home and neighborhood with high-end shopping and upscale condos. Suddenly, the Saleets faced the prospect of losing their home through eminent domain abuse, where government takes one person’s private property only to hand it over to another private party.