The other side of the Fellows Street Project - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

The other side of the Fellows Street Project


It's been a few months of a back and forth struggle between the people who live on Fellows Street and the City of South Bend. When we first brought you this story, neighbors on Fellows Street came to us with the complaint that the city was proposing to take 31 homes and destroy them to widen lanes and create a bike path down their stretch of road in response to the state's US-31 interstate project.

Those neighbors brought their concern to the Common Council, saying they felt that there was a better way to redevelop the area for the projected 8,000 extra cars the street would see. Members of the council wrote a letter to the Redevelopment commission, the Mayor, and the City Engineer, urging them to look for alternate routes that wouldn't negatively impact as many people. 

After that letter, City Engineer told FOX28 that the Fellows Street Project was on hold, for now, as they looked at other possibilities.

But now in the midst of this stalemate, another group of angry neighbors have come forward. They are frustrated that the project has stalled. Greg Chidester says he's already looked at five different homes, in hopes of finding a new after the city told him they were absolutely taking his house.

"I feel lied to and betrayed. I mean they looked me in my eyes and told me that this was what the deal was. It just really has messed up my life. Put a lot of things on hold. The whole time they told me not to put the deck on my house, not to fix my floor, that they were going to take my house." Chidester said.

He says he sent an email with questions regarding the stalled project to one of the engineers working on it. In a response email, Chidester says that engineer tells him one of the new options on the table would cause them to take his home.

"They gave me the blue print, they gave me the acquisition pamphlet. And I kind of joked with them, I would always say, "What percent are you sure you're going to take my house?" And I said well now what percent are you? And they said 100%." Chidester said.

And he's not the only neighbor upset. As he stood their talking with us, four other homeowners stood behind him in defense. One of them Gerry McKillips. She's lived in her home for over 46 years. After her and her husband Norm were told their house would be taken they looked into a retirement facility. They've already put down a safety deposit to hold the new home, but say the way things are going now, they may lose that one too.

"It's just, it's not fair. If we lose the apartment, what are we going to do? We'll have no place to go then. When we went to that small meeting with them, I asked them three or four times, are you for sure you're taking our house? Are you for sure you are? Every time I asked them, it was yes, yes, yes." McKillips said.

The letter the council wrote to the city administrators asked that they come back with a proposal by the end of August. For some of the people affected by the Fellows Street Project, that's just too long.

"We're tired. We're stressed out. And we need to get off of this." McKillips said.

"Not until they're there with the check, is it true. So build your deck, put your pool in, go on with your lives, and don't listen to them. Cause they don't know what they're doing." Chidester said.


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