Neighbors fighting Fellows Street construction
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A major construction project is expected to make things easier for drivers, but it's coming at a massive cost, by displacing an entire community.
Thirty-one homes on Fellows Street in South Bend will need to be torn down to make room.
"My neighbor, Joe, has lived in his home for 36 years," said Fellows Street neighbor Trina Detwiler.
Trina Detwiler has become close with her neighbors on Fellows Street in South Bend over the past three years. She is not ready to give up her home for this construction project.
"It's a house to them that they are taking, but it is my home and my neighbor's home," said Detwiler.
Detwiler said she and other neighbors only found out three weeks ago all the homes on one side of the block will get razed to make room for more traffic.
"In May of 2011 we had our first public meeting,” said Fellows Street Project Manager Bill Schalliol. “We sent out postcards to over 200 neighbors."
But Schalliol said it has been planned for a year and a half.
Still, some neighbors are trying to come together and figure out what they can do if anything to keep their homes.
"It's not fair to me or my neighbors,” said Detwiler.
Schalliol is working with Detwiler and others to make the transition as painless as possible.
"We will have some flexibility on move out dates with the owners," said Schalliol.
Schalliol said he knows some are concerned about getting a fair price from the city. South Bend plans to pay a little over $3 million for the properties, which on average is about $100,000 a home.
"We will get appraisals and they are offered the average of those appraisals,” said Schalliol.
Even if they leave, neighbors like Detwiler are asking Schalliol to keep the street safe for others.
"Obviously we have an enforcement issue we will have to work through,” said Schalliol.