The First Dispatch from the Correspondents' Corner

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When it comes to battling eminent domain on the grassroots level, you the property owner, the resident, the neighbor, are the best expert when it comes to figuring out the tactics best suited to your community. CastleWatch’s “Correspondents’ Corner” features the experiences and expertise of property owners, in their own words. We hope they will be a continuing source of inspiration for those who continue to fight to protect their properties from eminent domain abuse.

Our first piece is from Carla Zambelli of the Save Ardmore Coalition, who writes about how she and her neighbors in Ardmore, Pa., were able to defeat the threat of eminent domain. In 2007, the state Senate of Pennsylvania declared SAC “a role model worthy of emulation” for all grassroots organizations battling eminent domain.

When It Comes To Eminent Domain You’re Not Alone
By Carla J. Zambelli

Eminent Domain for private gain is legal stealing, economic segregation, and more often than not, class warfare. When you receive a notice of a taking, your world turns inside out, not just upside down. At first you feel like you are in the battle completely and utterly alone. But you aren’t alone. There are a lot of us out there.

I didn’t set out in life to become a grassroots activist on any level, but eminent domain is an issue that, as an American, I found I simply could not ignore. Let me tell you our story in Ardmore, Pa., where eminent domain threatened a block of small businesses in a local historic business district.

Ardmore is in Lower Merion Township, which is situated in Montgomery County, Pa., just minutes outside of Philadelphia. Ardmore is your quintessential old fashioned main street-oriented town. It represents the bygone days of small town America.

One night in February 2004, my fiancé and I headed off to our typical Friday night dinner destination–Hu Nan Restaurant in Ardmore. This was a tradition started by my parents when I was a child. That night we found out that my family tradition for the past 30 years might cease to exist.

Read the whole thing.