The petition to save Cumberland, Maryland homes from eminent domain is quickly gaining momentum. In just 10 days, the Change.org petition has grown from 2,400 signatures to over 100,000.
In addition to the support of Cumberland residents and sympathetic outsiders, celebrity Drew Lachey tweeted the petition to followers on Friday.
Last weekend, representatives from the Institute for Justice joined the Save Our Homes Alliance—a group of concerned residents—in hosting a block party in Cumberland to raise awareness that the threat of eminent domain was still hanging over the Rolling Mill neighborhood. If the city chooses to use the power of eminent domain for a private redevelopment project, homeowners who have lived in the neighborhood for decades could soon be pushed out.
A recent Public Information Act disclosure uncovered a “letter of intent” between the city and the project’s designated developer revealing the city’s intent to use eminent domain to acquire homes in the neighborhood.
IJ Outreach Coordinator Garrett Atherton summarized the homeowners’ feelings in an op-ed to the Cumberland Times-News, written in response to Mayor Brian Grim’s opinion that they were simply holding out for more money:
“What they are doing takes immense moral courage: standing up for what’s right, even if it’s unpopular. They don’t deserve the added humiliation of being singled out and blamed by their own city leaders for disagreeing with a project they didn’t ask for.
If anyone has dollar signs in their eyes, it is the city leadership and their real estate development cronies. Chasing tax revenue fantasies, they hatched a plan with a private development corporation to steal people’s property.”