Redevelopment Commission Meeting 07/26/2018

The Charlestown Redevelopment Commission met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, July 26 at 9:00 am. Following is a summary of the meeting with full audio (11:10) available at the end:

  1. Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance
  2. Determination of a Quorum and Roll Call – members present were John Spencer, Ted Little, Eric Vaughn, George Roberts, and Bob Hall. Clerk Treasurer Donna Coomer was also in attendance.
  3. Approval of prior meeting’s minutes, current claims, and the payroll allowance docket for 07/09/2018 to 07/21/2018 were combined into one motion for consideration.
    • Motion to approve made by Eric Vaughn
    • Seconded by George Roberts
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous Approval
  4. New Business
    • Renaissance Project – Mayor Hall explained that Alan Muncy from ARC Construction Management has offered a proposal to develop the Renaissance Site in two phases in a twelve month build. Phase one involves development from Main Street to the alleyway and includes 43 luxury apartments and two retail/restaurant locations including a nationally known coffee shop (not Starbucks). Phase two involves development from the alleyway to High Street and includes more housing and two retail/restaurant locations. These buildings will be done in the “old style” similar to historic Charlestown. Construction is expected to begin in 2018 and be completed in twelve months. Mayor Hall asked the commission to approve a $6,000 expenditure to purchase the building renderings from ARC Construction Management who will present at the next City Council or Redevelopment meeting.
      • Motion to approve $6,000 rendering purchase (pending attorney approval of the agreement) made by John Spencer
      • Seconded by Ted Little
      • No Discussion
      • Unanimous approval
    • L&M Bag Company Property Purchase – Mayor Hall explained that Council Member Brian Hester has been working to address the vacant property owned by L&M Bag Company at the end of Madison Street (the old IGA). The City would like to purchase this property and Mayor Hall asked the Commission to approve his ordering of two appraisals so that the City can make an offer based on the median amount of the two appraisals.
      • Motion to approve ordering the appraisals for property purchase made by Eric Vaughn
      • Seconded by George Roberts
      • No Discussion
      • Unanimous approval
  5. Mayor’s Update – Mayor Hall congratulated Clerk Treasurer Donna Coomer on her team’s successful audit by the Indiana State Board of Accounts which was released in February.
  6. Adjournment
    • motion to adjourn made by Eric Vaughn
    • Seconded by John Spencer
    • Unanimous approval

Full audio (11:10) available here: 

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Board of Public Works 07/16/2018

The Charlestown Board of Public Works met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, July 16 at 9:00am. Following is a summary of the meeting with full audio (6:46) available at the end:

  1. Call to order/Pledge of Allegiance
  2. Determination of a Quorum and Roll Call – Present were Ted Little, Bob Hall, and Ben Ledbetter. Also in attendance were City Attorney Michael Gillenwater and Clerk Treasurer Donna Coomer
  3. Approval of prior meeting’s minutes, claims, and payroll allowance docket from 07/02/2018 to 07/14/2018 combined into one motion for consideration.
    • Motion to approve made by Ted Little
    • Seconded by Ben Ledbetter
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous approval
  4. Public Comment
    • Maggie Wild of Glendale appeared before the Board to discuss the keeping of chickens in the city limits. Maggie and her family have raised a few chickens from chicks over the past five months and were unaware that chickens were not permitted until she received a notice from the city that she was in violation of the ordinance. Her children have become attached to the chickens and the family plans to use them only for eggs for their personal consumption. She requested a variance so that her family might be permitted to keep their chickens.
    • Mayor Hall noted that the Board is not a legislative body and for her to keep the chickens she needed to seek a change in ordinance from the City Council. He recommended that she contact her district representative, Mike Vaughn, and the At-Large council member, J.T. Cox for their help. Ms. Wild said that she had already spoken to Mike Vaughn and he directed her to the Board. Mayor Hall said that he was incorrect in doing so, and that Council Member Vaughn’s advice for her to appear before this board was “just him not understanding the process.” He recommended that she reach out to Council Member Vaughn again and said that he would call upon Mr. Vaughn himself to clarify.
  5. City Updates
    • Tony Jackson, Building Inspector – No update
    • Shane Spicer, Engineer – No update
    • Ben Ledbetter and Ted Little, Board members – no update
    • John Spencer, Director of Media and Public Relations – No Update
    • Eric Vaughn, Director of Economic Development – No Update
    • Donna Comer, Clerk Treasurer – No update
    • Mayor Hall
      • Charlestown’s Softball Junior League Girl’s team won the state championship for the second year in a row and will move on to represent Indiana in the Central State Tournament.
      • Groundbreaking for the new police station will be this coming Thursday (July 19) at 9:00 am.
      • Plans for a “pocket park” are being developed in Glendale and should be publicly announced soon.
  6. Adjournment
    • Motion to adjourn made by Ben Ledbetter
    • Seconded by Ted Little
    • Unanimous approval

Full Audio (6:46) Here: 

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Redevelopment Commission 07/12/2018

The Charlestown Redevelopment Commission met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, July 12 at 9:00am. The following is a summary of this meeting with full audio (16:41) available at the end:

  1. Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance
  2. Determination of a Quorum and Roll Call: Members present were Ted Little, John Spencer, George Roberts, Eric Vaughn, and Bob Hall. Also in attendance were attorney Michael Gillenwater and Clerk Treasurer Donna Coomer.
  3. Approval of prior meeting’s minutes, current claims, and payroll allowance docket from 06/24/2018 to 07/08/2018 combined into one motion for consideration.
    • Motion to approve made by George Roberts
    • Seconded by John Spencer
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous approval
  4. Partial Releases from loans granted to Springville Manor, LLC:
    • Mayor Hall explained that loans in the amount of $55,000 per home were originally granted to Springville Manor, LLC from the $2.5 million bond that the City obtained from New Washington State Bank (approved by City Council September 5, 2017, see HERE). The Mayor reminded the commission members that Springville Manor, LLC was the only developer to respond with a bid after the City advertised a need for senior housing. During negotiations the City agreed to invest $800,000 into roads, sewers, water, and site prep for the project. (The City will receive incremental tax revenue into the established TIF fund off of these improvements.) Mayor Hall noted that Springville Manor, LLC has received a loan of $55,000 per house (for a total of $1,760,000) on which they pay 2% monthly interest until each completed house is sold, or after 5 years, whichever comes first. Home construction costs total $69,900 and they are being sold for $65,000. Once the homes are sold, mortgages are assigned to the homeowner and Springville Manor, LLC can be released from their debt to the City for each property. Mayor Hall explained that homeowners sell their Pleasant Ridge properties for $10,000, receive a $20,000 forgivable loan (must live in the home for 3 years and a provision is made for death), and take on a $35,000 loan at 2% simple interest that equates to an additional $700 per year which is applied to the loan amount, for which the owner does not have to pay while living in the home (after 10 years the loan amount will be $42,000). Mayor Hall noted that Springville Manor, LLC does not make money on the houses in Springville Manor but hopes to recoup their expenses one day through their acquisition of property in Pleasant Ridge. The business today releases Springville Manor, LLC from their debt for homes that have been sold and officially transfers the debt to the homeowners.
    • Lot 1 – Hayes
      • motion to approve made by John Spencer
      • seconded by Eric Vaughn
      • Unanimous approval
    • Lot 3 – Wolfe
      • motion to approve made by George Roberts
      • seconded by Ted Little
      • Unanimous approval
    • Lot 7 – Melton
      • motion to approve made by John Spencer
      • seconded by Eric Vaughn
      • Unanimous approval
    • Lot 8 – Pelcer (spelling?)
      • motion to approve made by Ted Little
      • seconded by George Roberts
      • Unanimous approval
    • Lot 13 – Smith
      • motion to approve made by Eric Vaughn
      • seconded by John Spencer
      • Unanimous approval
    • Lot 14 – McBride
      • motion to approve made by John Spencer
      • seconded by George Roberts
      • Unanimous approval
    • Lot 15 – Ottman (spelling?)
      • motion to approve made by George Roberts
      • seconded by John Spencer
      • Unanimous approval
    • Lot 16* – Jackson
      • motion to approve made by John Spencer
      • seconded by Eric Vaughn
      • Unanimous approval
    • After all lots passed Ted Little raised a question about the lot numbers and noted that the Jackson house is not Lot 16. Mayor Hall noted that the correction to lot numbers would have to be made.
  5. Attorney Gillenwater updated the Commission on the police station build and said that all paperwork has been completed. Mayor Hall said that a groundbreaking should be next week.
  6. Adjournment
    • Motion made by Eric Vaughn
    • Seconded by John Spencer
    • Unanimous approval

Audio of meeting (16:41) here: 

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UPDATE: Propaganda Campaign on Hold?

images-2A few months ago I shared information about the City of Charlestown contracting with ProMedia Group to manage the “negative press and wide-spread public descent [sic] for City Government decisions and management.” In my original post (Here), I explained that the contract stipulated that the City would pay ProMedia Group $5,000 per month to “take control of the City’s messaging” and monitor the City’s social media pages in order to ensure “that the City is represented in the best possible way.” 

Today I learned that the City is no longer under contract with ProMedia for undisclosed reasons. A review of financial documents shows that the City paid three monthly fees of $5,000 each for February, March, and April, at which point the contract was discontinued with no explanation or notification to the Board of Public Works (at least not one made in any of the public meetings).

This is the second time in only a couple of weeks that I’ve learned of broken contracts. (See the Klipsch-Card contract issue (HERE).

imagesA lack of transparency is not healthy for a government. When issues and decisions (however large or small) are cloaked in secrecy, they often generate feelings of impropriety, even where none exists. I guess we can all be happy that the “kickstart” to this “Positive Messaging Campaign” didn’t cost us the additional $23,000 as originally proposed, and that we only spent $15,000 instead of the full $83,000, but I’m left wondering what prompted the sudden end of yet another contract and why it wasn’t a topic of discussion for the Board that originally approved it.

 

City Council Meeting 07/02/2018

The Charlestown City Council met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, July 2 at 6:30 PM. Following is a summary of the meeting with full audio (36:18) at the end:

  1. Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance
  2. Invocation – Neyland McClellan (North Charlestown Church of God)
  3. Determination of a Quorum and Roll Call: Roll call not formally taken but by observation the following members were in attendance – Ted Little, Brian Hester, Mike Vaughn, Tina Barnes, and J.T. Cox. Also present were Mayor Bob Hall, Attorney Michael Gillenwater, and Deputy Clerk Nancy Rogers.
  4. Approval of Agenda – Mayor Hall asked to approve the agenda with an addition of 2018-OR-16 regarding the financing for the police station construction.
    • Motion to approve the agenda with the addition made by Ted Little
    • Seconded by Brian Hester
    • During discussion, Tina Barnes asked to table this additional ordinance until the next meeting. Council Member Barnes noted that the ordinance was not sent to the council members until earlier that day and she had not had adequate time to review the document.
    • The motion to approve the minutes with the addition passed 4-1 with Tina Barnes the ‘nay’ vote.
  5. Claims – Mayor Hall added two claims to the list from Custom Computer and Consulting for updates to the City’s servers in the amount of $7,415.96 and $2,138.00.
    • Motion to approve claims with additions made by Brian Hester
    • Seconded by J.T. Cox
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous approval
  6. Prior Meeting’s minutes and Payroll Allowance Docket from 06/03/2018 to 07/01/2018 combined into one motion
    • Motion to approve made by Mike Vaughn
    • Seconded by J.T. Cox
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous approval
  7. Public Comment – David Hayes, Sr. – the Villas of Springville Manor – Mr. Hayes described growing up and raising his children on Berkley in Pleasant Ridge. He noted that the neighborhood declined in the time he lived there, and that since moving to Springville Manor in December 2017, his utility bills have decreased and life has gotten easier due to property maintenance being provided for residents there. He and his wife are very happy in their new home. He expressed excitement about growth in Charlestown and thanked Bob Hall and the Council for the opportunity to move into a new home. He said that, while the Villas at Springville Manor are not fit for everyone in Pleasant Ridge, they are a good fit for him and his wife.
  8. Ordinance 2018-OR-15 – AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING REGULATIONS FOR THE OPERATION, CONTROL AND MANAGEMENT OF PUBLIC PARKS WITHIN THE CITY OF CHARLESTOWN
    • Motion to approve made by Brian Hester
    • Seconded by Mike Vaughn
    • During Discussion Council Member Tina Barnes asked about “Item F” in the ordinance that prohibits glass containers. Noting that many people prepare and serve food from glass dishes she requested clarification of this item. Mayor Hall noted that clarification to prohibit glass bottles would be beneficial. Additionally, Ms. Barnes was concerned about the prohibition of “shock collars” since many trainers use such e-collars to provide an extra level of control for dogs. Mayor Hall asked Tony Jackson about the inclusion of this item among the prohibited items and Mr. Jackson said that all the dog parks they surveyed in their drafting of the ordinance prohibited shock collars. Ms. Barnes asked if more research could be done to clarify the issue and Mayor Hall said that she is welcome to do whatever she wants in that regard and that he is reluctant to require the collars. Ms. Barnes clarified that she’s not saying the collars should be required but that they should at least be allowed. More research will be done on the collar issue before the second reading of this ordinance.
    • Upon 1st reading the ordinance passed unanimously. Amendments will be made before the second reading.
  9. Tax Abatement Request – James Atcher with 3M Properties, LLC – Mr. Atcher is building a 7,500 square foot office building for his insulation installation company at 105 Industrial Way and is requesting a three year, 33% tax abatement for the improvements he is making at the property. During discussion he explained that he does not currently have an abatement and has not had such since he has owned the property (2009). He will be adding approximately 5-8 employees to his existing staff of 12 at average salaries of $47,000. Bob Hall noted that with the 33% abatement, the City will still net out more revenue than they currently do from the property once improvements are made.
    • Motion to approve made by Ted Little
    • Seconded by Brian Hester
    • Unanimous approval
  10. Ordinance 2018-OR-16 – AN ORDINANCE APPROVING INSTALLMENT PURCHASE CONTRACT AND RELATED DOCUMENTS AND PLEDGING FUNDING FOR THE CHARLESTOWN POLICE DEPT. HEADQUARTERS
    • Paul Wheatley from the Wheatley Group, who has been contracted to build the new police station, presented the ordinance that will allow them to move forward with construction. He noted that the ordinance will allow the City to enter into this debt instrument, allows the Mayor to execute the documents, and pledges LOIT as the repayment fund for the project. Construction and designs and site work will take approximately three weeks. Architectural plans are anticipated in Mid- August. Total cost of the project is $1,299,500. Financing is provided by New Washington State Bank at a 10 year fixed interest rate of 3.8% after which the loan will convert to a variable rate. Payments will total approximately $115,000 annually (split into two payments). The Bank has agreed to hold this rate in case this ordinance does not pass in entirety tonight. Year end 2017 collections in LOIT are approximately $216,000, so there is enough money in the fund to cover the instrument. If approved tonight, occupancy can be granted in Spring 2019.
    • Council Member Tina Barnes asked for clarification on who is taking part in this project as the Developer and about the interest rate. She apologized for not being able to ask more informed questions, but noted that she had not been allowed adequate time to review the documents in full.
    • Chief McDonald and members of the police department were present and expressed their excitement and thanks for the City moving forward on this project.
    • Council Member Little asked about funding for furniture and Mayor Hall said that the police department has some money available and that the City will assist them.
    • Motion to approve made by Mike Vaughn
    • Seconded by J.T. Cox
    • Prior to the vote Council Member Tina Barnes stated that she would abstain from voting because she has not had a chance to read the ordinance in full. She tanked the Police Department for their work and noted that they deserve this station but that in order to do her job she needed time to read the documents first.
    • Motion passed 4/1 with Ms. Barnes making an abstention
    • Mayor Hall called for a motion to suspend the rules to allow for a second and final reading of the ordinance.
      • Motion to suspend made by Ted Little
      • Seconded by Brian Hester
      • Passed 4/1 with Ms. Barnes making an abstention
    • Mayor Hall called for a motion to approve the ordinance in a second and final reading.
      • Motion to approve on second and final reading made by Mike Vaughn
      • Seconded by Brian Hester
      • Passed 4/1 with Ms. Barnes making an abstention
  11. Adjournment
    • Motion to adjourn made by J.T. Cox
    • Seconded by Ted Little
    • Unanimous approval

Full audio (36:18) available here: 

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Board of Public Works 07/01/2018

The Charlestown Board of Public Works met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, July 2, 2018 at 9:00 am. Following is a summary of the meeting with full audio (7:31) available at the end:

  1. Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance
  2. Determination of a Quorum and Roll Call – present were Ted Little, Ben Ledbetter, and Bob Hall. Attorney Michael Gillenwater was also present.
  3. Approval of Minutes from previous meeting, current claims, and payroll allowance docket from 06/17/2018 to 07/01/2018 combined into one motion for consideration.
    • Motion to approve made by Ben Ledbetter
    • Seconded by Ted Little
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous approval
  4. Colonial Life Insurance – Heather Castleman came to offer supplemental (gap) insurance for city employees. This insurance would be in addition to what they receive as benefits from the city and at the cost of the individual employee. As a thank you for being allowed to give employees quotes the company is offering one year of MD Live free. This service allows people to call and speak to a physician at any time for advice and even prescriptions. Mayor Hall said that he would present the information to Human Resources and have them get in touch with Ms. Castleman.
  5. Shane Spicer update – they have solicited quotes for bank stabilization at Greenway Park from a few companies but did not receive quotes and will have to pursue a new plan.
  6. Adjournment
    • motion made by Ben Ledbetter
    • seconded by Ted Little
    • unanimous approval

Full audio (7:31) available here:

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For the “Greater Good” – Does Redevelopment Bring Social Justice?

Little-Pink-House-mvoie-2018Last night I attended a screening of Little Pink House sponsored by the Institute for Justice. I knew going into it that the film would be thought provoking, and I was not disappointed. The comparisons between redevelopment abuse in New London and Charlestown were many, but one line repeated throughout the film resonated more than others:

“Economic development and social justice go hand in hand.” 

Dr. Charlotte Wells’ mantra became the justification around which the City of New London and the State of Connecticut based their redevelopment plan. Whether well-meaning or not, folks looked upon the Fort Trumbull neighborhood as a place in need of revitalization. High unemployment, poverty, and declining property values plagued the neighborhood and contributed to New London’s sagging economy. Dr. Wells, Governor Aaron Douglas, and the city attorney with help from the City Council, partnered with Pfizer to make backroom deals that lined their own pockets under the guise of helping the residents of Fort Trumbull find a way out of their depressed neighborhood.

All for the greater good. 

But, as Institute for Justice attorney Scott Bullock noted,

Some of the worst acts in history have happened “for the greater good.”

Much of the Kelo v. New London case depended upon public media. While Suzette and the Institute for Justice worked tirelessly to bring attention to the residents’ desires to keep their homes, the redevelopment company repeated their “social justice” line and assured people outside the immediate situation that they were treating the residents fairly.

Charlestown finds itself in a similar situation. As residents in Pleasant Ridge seek protection from abusive code enforcement and the threat of eminent domain, the City of Charlestown takes great strides to convince the rest of us that all is fair, and demolition of the entire neighborhood must happen if we are to move forward as a city (see how far they have gone HERE).

As evidence of their determination to provide social justice for the people in Pleasant Ridge, the City of Charlestown offers three examples of their “kindness”: 1) Allowing renters to live rent-free during a transition phase, 2) creating a Pathway to Homeownership program, and 3) partnering with the developer to provide alternative housing at Springville Manor for Pleasant Ridge homeowners.

From outside appearances these opportunities provide a benevolent transition…but what lies beneath? 

  • Live Rent Free to Save Money – The City applauds the redevelopment company that has bought many of the homes in Pleasant Ridge for allowing renters to live payment-free for several months prior to serving notice to vacate the properties. The basic argument is that if renters don’t have to pay rent, they can save their money and find another solution to their housing needs. This plan is flawed for a number of reasons. Among them, in addition to a shortage of alternative housing, the plan assumes that renters living in low-income housing don’t have any other use for extra money (medical bills, car repairs, etc). Additionally, much of the City’s argument for complete demolition of Pleasant Ridge hinges on the notion that all houses in the neighborhood are unsafe. While this notion is grossly inaccurate, if a house IS in such ill repair, how is it kind to allow a renter to live in it for any period of time?
  • Pathway to Homeownership – In this plan the City partnered with a local real estate agent to help counsel renters on how to save money and repair damage to their credit in order to purchase a house. While such a program is indeed a great thing for a city to offer residents, not everyone WANTS to buy a house. Many people rent because doing so provides the best possible solution to their housing needs. Want an example? What of the person who does not have the ability or resources to maintain a home? One busted water heater, malfunctioning air conditioner, or leaky pipe might send them on a financial tailspin. People rent for a variety of reasons. It’s not kind to suggest that all renters are somehow lower class because of their choice. 
  • Springville Manor – I’ve written on Springville Manor before (HERE). I stand by my assertion that the decision to move from Pleasant Ridge into Springville Manor is one that is best made carefully from a person’s own unique situation. I am happy for those who find that this option is good for them. The idea that Springville Manor offers a winning situation for ALL property owners in Pleasant Ridge, however, is false. Mayor Bob Hall would have us believe that homeowners receive a bargain deal for a new and improved home at no additional cost when they elect this choice. This perception of benevolence is flawed. A homeowner who owes nothing on a well maintained property in Pleasant Ridge gains a minimum of $35,000 in debt by accepting this offer, while the developer presumably gains a profit for each unit sold. How is it kind to drive senior citizens from their comfortable homes when they have no desire to move? At what point do private property rights and freedom of choice mean so little that folks honestly consider this a happy alternative for all? 

Public media has a major role to play in how things move forward in Charlestown, and from many angles it looks as though the City is winning in their attempt to convince us all that Pleasant Ridge must be destroyed. Just last night a Charlestown resident advised people in Pleasant Ridge to “Just sit back and watch [and] listen for bull dozers” in a Facebook comment in response to a post about the Little Pink House movie event.

But the crowd that gathered to watch Little Pink House last night saw a different public media message. Despite the violent imagery of Catherine Keener reenacting Suzette Kelo’s desperate attempts to sweep debris from demolition of her neighbor’s home off of her own front porch, and the palpable sadness when she loaded her deceased elderly neighbor’s body into the back of an ambulance, despite the fact that Suzette ultimately lost her Supreme Court battle over New London’s use of eminent domain, those of us who were paying attention can see a message of hope.

The Kelo v. City of New London case is widely considered one of the most flawed rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court. In the wake of Suzette’s loss, over 40 states enacted strict legislation to prevent similar situations from happening in their own back yards. Indiana is one of those states. Much like New London, the City of Charlestown is misusing its power to circumvent private property rights. Unlike New London, the City is poised to lose this fight.

The City of Charlestown refused to advertise the Little Pink House movie event on its public electronic billboards because they claimed it was not in the benefit of the community. If you didn’t come out to see it, you missed out on free food, fun fellowship, and an incredibly thought provoking film, all things that are arguably beneficial for a community. I hope you’ll find another way to watch the movie, but if not, let me just leave you with Suzette Kelo’s closing line so that you can think of it next time you consider the situation in Pleasant Ridge:

“This is where we chose to settle and this is where we want to stay. This is America, the home of the free isn’t it?” 

susette-kelo-avner-gregory-bf8bcc94c745d2af

***Dedicated to the Pleasant Ridge families that have lost loved ones since the fight to keep their homes began – Although they did not live to see a happy outcome, may they rest in peace knowing that the battle goes on, and that nothing short of total respect for private property rights will bring its end**

Sonny Brewer

Virgil Carlisle

Lucille Carpenter

Dexter Carver

Barb Coda

Leona Cooper

Chancy Griffith

Rhonda Jo Hays

Dallas McClellan

Jerry Mitchell

Ollie Phillips

Kevin Satterly

Shirley Satterly

Randy Stacy

*List courtesy of Tina Barnes – apologies if someone’s name was accidentally not included.


For more information about the people whose lives are most directly affected by Charlestown’s redevelopment plans click here: Dear John Neace

For more information about the Little Pink House movie click here: Little Pink House Movie

For more information or to donate to the Institute for Justice click here: Institute for Justice

For details about the Kelo v. City of New London court case visit Wiki at: Kelo v. City of New London

*Some names in the film were changed from real life counterparts – For example, “Dr. Charlotte Wells” is based on then Connecticut College President, Claire Gaudiani and “Governor Aaron Douglas” is based on then Governor John Rowland.