On a steamy July evening, young and old gathered on a freshly cut plot of grass for a summertime block party in West Baltimore, the air thick with sweat and bug spray.
With dance music beating, kids bounced in an inflatable house and swung on swings while adults congregated with plates of food. As an ice cream truck jingled up to the curb, Sonia Eaddy, the block party’s organizer, stepped up to the microphone. The celebratory atmosphere belied the tenor of her remarks.
“I’ve been fighting this fight since 2004. I’ve been trying to get the attention of people since 2004,” Eaddy, 57, said. “So too have all of you out here in 2021 — it should not have taken this long.”
The West Baltimore native and her husband, Curtis, are at the center of the Poppleton neighborhood’s dispute with the City of Baltimore, which condemned their home last year using eminent domain — how the government takes private property for public use. Their property is among more than 500 homes and lots included in a planned redevelopment of the neighborhood that the city signed 15 years ago with New York developer La Cité.