One month ago someone tagged me in the comments of a Facebook post about Springville Manor. The original post celebrated a widow’s acceptance of the City’s relocation program from Pleasant Ridge to Springville Manor, and also accused members of “the Association” (presumably the Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association) of harassing and bullying people like that widow who have made this choice. The person who tagged me asked me to investigate these accusations. I have spent the past month looking into the situation and I’d like to share what I’ve found.
I reached out to current residents of Springville Manor, people in the transition but who have not yet moved, and leaders of the Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association. First, let me say that the leaders of the Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association deny that they have harassed anyone about their decision to relocate. Their official position is that individuals have the right to make their own decisions and should do so based on their unique circumstances. If anyone who has chosen to remain in Pleasant Ridge has bullied folks who have decided to move it was NOT done by the hand of the PRNA.
Unfortunately, none of the current residents of Springville Manor nor those in transition are comfortable speaking on record. Some people never answered my request for an interview, others simply said that they don’t want to “cause any trouble” or become the subject of any form of “retribution.”
Has harassment or bullying occurred? My official answer is I don’t know. What I did find, though not “harassment,” was far from encouraging.
In order to make my investigation as thorough as I could, I went to public Facebook posts to see how people are talking about the relocation program. What I saw was discouraging to say the least. Negative comments about the Springville Manor houses are not hard to find. Some folks disparage the deal as a whole*, others express their distaste for the design of the houses. Words like “glorified garages” and “concentration camp” were found on posts. I imagine that for people who now or soon will own these houses, such statements are hurtful and cruel.
But before we jump on these statements as proof of harassment, it should be noted that for every negative post about the homes in Springville Manor, I found numerous hateful comments about the homes in Pleasant Ridge as well. How many years have the folks on the hill been subjected to the same scrutiny regardless of the actual condition of their homes?
Here’s the crux of it: The choice to move is a PERSONAL DECISIONbased on individual circumstances that are NONE of our business. It’s sad that Charlestown has become so divided over issues of personal property rights. Do you live in Pleasant Ridge in a home that you want to keep? Great! Have you decided to leave Pleasant Ridge for a home in Springville Manor? Wonderful! Do you live elsewhere? Then it’s not your decision. May we all vow to keep better check on the words we use in public and be sensitive to how they might be interpreted by others.
You don’t have to like the house in which I live and I don’t have to approve of your sense of style. It’s that simple. I sincerely hope that soon Charlestown can heal from the division that has evolved in the past few years. We’re a great group of people who just want to live, and work, and raise our families in small town Indiana. Here’s hoping we can keep Charlestown First.