Meet some of the homeowners of Pleasant Ridge:
Pleasant Ridge resident Tina Barnes, like many of her neighbors, has lived in Pleasant Ridge for the majority of her life. She is a medical billing clerk who cares for her disabled adult daughter and is raising her two granddaughters on her own. When Tina first learned about the city’s plan to destroy her neighborhood, she ran for City Council and was elected in November 2015 to represent Pleasant Ridge. She is consistently the single dissenting vote on matters relating to Pleasant Ridge redevelopment and has stood strong against pressure to give in to Mayor Hall’s plans.
Josh Craven is the founder and president of the Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association. He is a single dad to his four-year-old daughter and supports her with his job as an exterminator. Josh has served as a leader in Pleasant Ridge since the city first tried to destroy it in 2014, and he continues to support his neighbors and work to save the neighborhood he grew up in. He has made Pleasant Ridge his life-long home, and cannot realistically afford to live anywhere else if he loses his home.
David and Ellen Keith:
David and Ellen Keith have lived in Pleasant Ridge since the 1970s and have helped three generations of children raise their families right next door. Ellen is a hairdresser in downtown Charlestown and David is a retired autoworker. The Keith’s have stood as pillars in the Pleasant Ridge community for decades, and never hesitate to help their neighbors in need. They have spent years growing and remodeling their home, and if the city forces them out, they will be left nearly destitute in their retirement.
Nancy moved into her home in Pleasant Ridge in 1953 with her husband and one-and-a-half-year old son. She raised her two sons in Pleasant Ridge, and they both grew up to become police officers. Like many of her neighbors, Nancy says the neighborhood was a wonderful place to raise her family. All of the kids played with each other and would frequently come over to hang out at Nancy’s house. Nancy feels happy and safe in Pleasant Ridge, and she does not want to lose that security to the city.
Melissa and Patrick Crawford:
Patrick bought his home in 1993, and he and Melissa began their life as a couple there. Patrick’s elderly parents live right next door, which allows them to live independently in their older years, with Patrick and Melissa there to take care of them if they need it.
The Crawford’s have also raised many rescue animals in their home over the years, and they hope to continue to do so in the years to come. As Melissa said, “I did everything right throughout my life–I worked hard, always taking care of my property, paid my taxes. We worked hard for this home, and it’s ours. I’m proud of it.”
Denise Brewer was born and raised in the home her grandfather bought in 1959, and she currently lives there with her brother and, until recently, her father, who passed away. Several generations of Denise’s family have lived in her home, and she has poured money and heart into expanding and improving it. Her family has also been very involved in the Charlestown community; her grandmother helped start the Volunteer Fire Department, and her uncle ran the water department until he passed away.
Danny Meeks has lived in different homes in Pleasant Ridge for his whole life. He has raised three kids in the neighborhood, and has established a reputation for sitting on his porch and striking up conversations with anyone who walks by. A pillar in the Pleasant Ridge community, Danny would like to retire and travel, but has had to put his dreams on hold due to the threat to his home and his community.
Elsie Day and her husband moved to Pleasant Ridge 49 years ago. She, her three children, five grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren all live nearby in Charlestown. Like many of her neighbors, Elsie has a lifetime of memories of having the neighborhood children over, playing with them, and cooking for them. She and her husband simply want to live the rest of their days in their home in peace.
Peggy Williams, or “Nana,” as the neighborhood kids call her, bought her home in 1988. For the last 30 years she has been improving it and has put more than $60,000 into making it just the way she wants it. Peggy is very popular with the children in the neighborhood, often having as many as 13 kids over at her house at once playing. She looks after them and makes sure they’re safe, and she sometimes even buys them clothes and snacks. If she loses her home, Peggy will no longer be able to be “Nana” to so many neighborhood kids. She said, “All my life I’ve believed in justice and being fair … now the city is just trying to rob from the poor to give to the rich.”