Editorâ€™s Note: This is the second part of a two-part story featuring the City of Cumberlandâ€™s plans to purchase homes in four City neighborhoods to make way for potential development projects. Part one provided a general overview of the story based on recent news stories and social media postings. Part two provides the personal perspective of Susan Bolyard, a Cumberland resident of the Rolling Mills area who has been contacted by City officials.
I live in the Rolling Mill area and since the Cumberland Times-News has finally decided to break the news about what the Cumberland Mayor and City Council are doing, I also wanted my side, along with many others in my area, to be out there.
I was contacted a month ago and was offered the tax assessment to my home to move-being told two different stories as to why they wanted my neighborhood.
My house was built for my Great Great Aunt as a wedding present in 1897. I was given this house in 2006 with a promise to keep it in the family.
In 2007, I was contacted by the City of Cumberland because my home was falling down and in dire need of repairs. [I was told if I did not make the repairs] I would be fined for numerous things on a daily basis. After being harassed for quite some time, I finally was able to get a loan through the City and had a brand new roof, siding, and windows put on my home- along with other repairs out of my own pocket.
The phone call I received from the City [in August] and the amount they offered me to leave is almost laughable. It's not even enough to cover the loan that I owe. And they said they do hope I will stay in the Cumberland area, but my neighborhood is crime infested and they have to start somewhere.
My story is only one among many. They have already scared a 98 year old lady who has lived on my street since 1941 into taking their offer.
I asked to have a public meeting with all of us in the neighborhood and was told they were talking to us all individually.
With no real [economic development] offers on the table, why do we all have to give up our homes and leave? And why is the city not trying to work out something with us instead of telling us to go get appraisals. Out of our own pocket thatâ€™s $500-$600-- and considering they have already bought rundown properties that decreases ours even more.
Susan is interested in hearing from other home owners in the identified â€śopportunity zonesâ€ť to learn more about their thoughts on this issue.