East Jackson resident Catherine Haynes is concerned that the city wants to buy both of her Phillips Street properties even though they are not for sale.
"I don't want to relocate," she said.
Haynes' home is paid for and she has lived on Phillips Street for 20 years. She lived at 225 Phillips St. until last year's storms damaged her home. Then she bought the property next to it. She tore her house down and built one home on both lots.
The city is in the process of buying the homes on the odd-numbered side of Phillips Street as a part of the tornado redevelopment plan. Haynes, along with 24 more concerned residents, voiced her opinion to Councilman Johnny Dodd and Paul George, a planner for the city of Jackson, in a Tuesday night meeting in the Mount Moriah Baptist Church fellowship hall.
The city has been buying the properties on the west side of Cartmell Street, the north side of Chester Street to Camp's grocery store and both sides of Phillips Avenue, between Chester Street and the U.S. 70 Bypass, since July. The plan also includes Parkview Courts.
The plan will bring single-family homes and town homes to the area. George announced in the meeting that about 35 percent of the properties in that target area have been contracted or closed on.
"I've been contacting people on an individual basis and trying to work out arrangements to buy the property," George said.
If an agreement can't be reached, the city could still acquire the properties through eminent domain, where fair market value would be offered to the property owner.
The plan deals directly with areas in Dodd's district. He explained to his constituents that he felt the city's plan was a good plan and he did vote for it. He does, however, understand the people's concern.
"When you start telling people you are going to take away their property and they have been here for 40 or 50 years, that is hard to take," Dodd said.
Dodd said he is being the mediator and is trying to make this work for everyone involved.
"We needed to get some dialogue, so everybody could voice their concerns," he said.
The consensus of the group present was, "We're not accepting."
The next step Dodd plans to take is another meeting, but this time with Mayor Charles Farmer.
"They said they wanted to meet with the mayor," he said. "So I am going to talk to him to see if we can schedule a meeting with them."
Haynes and her neighbors still question the city's motives behind the plan.
"If it had not been for the storm, would they have been interested in fixing up Phillips?" she asked.
The Jackson Sun, 245 W. Lafayette Street, Jackson TN, 731-427-3333: www.jacksonsun.com
What is eminent domain?