Peoplestown residents fighting the City of Atlanta, present new evidence in court

- Residents continue their legal battle with the City of Atlanta after presenting new evidence in court Thursday, they said proves the city is wrong.

The City of Atlanta is using eminent domain to purchase and demolish homes in Peoplestown in order to build a park and retention pond as a way to fix flooding problems.

“A lot of new information that was presented in court today that clearly proves that the taking of the homes was not necessary and especially our home,” said Bertha Darden who along with her husband are fighting for their home of 27 years.

The Darden’s attorney, Gary Spencer presented an email in court that he said came from the City of Atlanta.  In the email presented, dated September 2013, it states, “The present modeling results do not validate the need for a retention pond in Peoplestown”

“At the time the first email was sent, that there wasn’t technical documentation to back up what they wanted to do,” said attorney Gary Spencer.

The Darden’s home is one of 28 that the City of Atlanta said needs to be demolished in order to go through with the city development project.  But the Dardens said this new email shows that is not the case.

“We are going to fight until the end, we are not tucking our tail and taking their money and running, we want to stay in our neighborhood,” said homeowner Robert Darden.

The watershed department has previously said this proposal is the only way to fix the flooding, but the engineer hired by the Dardens said the problem can be fixed without taking their home and the city exercised “reverse engineering”

“What I mean by that is they started with the end in mind,” said engineer Jeff Moran.  “It was not backed up by engineering practice, transparency or integrity, it was convenient to take an entire block.”

Residents said the judge will review the evidence presented in court and then make a ruling.  It is not known when that ruling will be made.

In an email to FOX 5 News, a spokesperson for the City of Atlanta said “As the matters is pending before the court, the City declines to comment at this time.”

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