On November 1, the day before local elections, residents and supporters of the neighborhood of Peoplestown rallied outside of Atlanta City Hall. Residents have been in the midst of legal battles to stay in their homes after the former Kasim Reed administration sought to take the property in the name of eminent domain.
A handful of participants held a press conference to express their concerns over losing their homes, including Bertha Darden, a legacy resident who confronted Reed at a October 24 mayoral forum. The video of the interaction went viral.
At the rally, Darden addressed the apology she received from Reed the day of the forum.
“On that Friday I addressed him, his response back was an apology… I looked him in the eyes. And the expression on his countenance that I saw, was not a good spirit,” Darden said.
Reed held a press conference of his own on the same day at his campaign headquarters. Councilmembers Michael Julian Bond and Carla Smith were in attendance to present solutions for the issue.
Legislation was introduced that would authorize $1.75 million to the three remaining families living in Peoplestown.
Mayoral candidates Andre Dickens and Felicia Moore attended the Peoplestown rally in support of their efforts to remain in their homes.
Moore’s team released an official statement to The Atlanta Voice regarding the dispute over the future of Peoplestown.
“Nine years ago, Kasim Reed introduced an eminent domain action under false pretenses by failing to disclose that residents like Mr. and Mrs. Darden were still living in their homes.” a spokesperson for Moore said. “Today, nobody bothered to inform the Peoplestown residents that legislation was being introduced to [City] Council that would affect their lives.”
Tanya Washington, neighbor to the Dardens, said that she has been in the process of litigation for the last five years. Last week, she received an eviction notice from the city. She has no plan on leaving her home.
“They will not take our homes,” Washington said. “We have discovered that they didn’t follow the procedure. Nor did they have a substantive justification to take our homes. A former City of Atlanta engineer [came] forward, Kim Scott, [and] did what needed to be done when nobody was watching and lost her job as a result of it. That’s the reason, because she put it in writing that they didn’t need to do this.”