The city of Cumberland, Maryland, appears to be peaceful and thriving to drivers passing through on I-68. But, a dozen homeowners in the Rolling Mill neighborhood are locked in a battle with the city. The fight began more than a year ago when the city chose the neighborhood as an ideal location for redevelopment. ABC7 interviewed homeowners in Rolling Mill and city leaders about the dispute.

“A bomb fell out of the sky and managed to land here on our neighborhood,” said Woody Gordon, a homeowner from Rolling Mill. Gordon, a 64-year-old retired railroader, outlived his father, mother and brother. He said “they would flip over in their graves if they thought I was dealing the house away.” Gordon’s family had to relocate in the 1960s when his family’s home was seized through eminent domain to build I-68. “This is my second time. So that really pisses me off,” said Gordon.

Shawn Hershberger, the city’s economonic development coordinator and head of the Cumberland Economic Development Corporation, the group heading up the redevelopment project, insists that eminent domain won’t be used.

I can tell you right now we have never threatened it, never brought it up, we have never taken any actions towards the use of eminent domain.

However, a letter of intent from the city to the CEDC and its developer, PennTex, stated:

It is contemplated by the parties that the City will, at its sole cost and expense endeavor to acquire good and marketable fee simple title to the Properties through the City’s power of eminent domain and/or otherwise within two (2) years of the date of this Letter of intent.

The Institute for Justice is working with residents to protect their homes from eminent domain abuse. For more information about the dispute, please click here to watch the full report.