Should it be any surprise that six years after the horrible landmark Supreme Court’s 2005 case Kelo v. City of New London, which brought about the decision that governments could seize private property for the sole reason of “economic development,” the Fort Trumbull site in question is today a total dump, where “economic development” by the local government has ceased to ever happen?
The Eminent Domain blog, Gideon’s Trumpet, points out that the site has sat there for years following the court’s decision and has become overgrown with weeds and other vegetation. It is a far cry from the well maintained middle class neighborhood the New London government kicked out and bulldozed over years ago in the name of “economic development.”
In the video above, the Fort Trumbull site has shown to be affected by Hurricane Irene’s impact on Connecticut. The local newspaper, The Day, reports the site is now a place to dump vegetation debris. Although residents were ordered to move out in 2005, feral cats ignored New London and took up residence on the famed Supreme Court decision eminent domain locale. According to a 2008 The Day piece:
The crown of the hill where the houses of some of the last holdouts stood the longest has been swept clean, and there’s not so much as a trace of the families that used to call this block home.
And yet, some life still stirs here.
Under a stand of trees, not far from the original site of Susette Kelo’s little pink house, the enduring symbol of the city’s bruising eminent domain wars, is a small colony of feral cats.
There were some accounts of wild cats living in some of the abandoned buildings at Fort Trumbull, before they were torn down. They were spotted coming and going and, in some cases, perched on the front steps, as if waiting for someone to come home.
In a 2009 Water Cooler post, I wrote about the deterioration of the Fort Trumbull site that the City of New London, Connecticut seized from former resident Susette Kelo:
The Supreme Court’s disastrous 2005 Kelo v. City of New London decision sparked a property rights movement across the country about local governments around the nation who seize private property for the reason of “economic development.” As a result of the court decision, Susette Kelo’s land was given to private developers working on high-end projects in the surrounding area of the coroporate facility for the drug manufacturer Pfizer. Ms. Kelo’s home and other dwellings were bulldozed over in the end.
Pfizer recently announced, however, it plans to vacate its research and development facility in New London, Connecticut and move to nearby Groton. The Hartford Courant reports that the pending loss of Pfizer’s headquarters, “could also complicate New London’s effort to redevelop the Fort Trumbull area… ” The Courant references the Kelo decision and the so-called redevelopment Fort Trumbull was supposed to have as a result of the high court’s decision.:
“…an ambition that led to the city’s controversial seizure of private homes through eminent domain and to a subsequent bitter legal battle that ended with a U.S. Supreme Court decision in the city’s favor in 2005. Pfizer’s nearby headquarters was hailed as an attraction that would inspire redevelopment. But meaningful redevelopment at Fort Trumbull remains a dream.”
Pfizer, though, refuses to take the blame for the barren area of Fort Trumbull. A spokeswoman for Pfizer sent the Washington Times a statement on the eminent domain case and the company’s pulling out of New London.:
“Eminent domain played no part in the development by Pfizer of its facility in New London CT. In fact, our offices were built on an industrial “brown field.” Pfizer worked with the State on remediation and clean up of the polluted site-formerly an abandoned mill and a scrap yard.
Don’t expect New London government officials to claim any kind of blame for this expensive catastrophe, because their actions did not just affect Susette Kelo and others who lived in Fort Trumbull. Following the 2005 Supreme Court case, other governments around the country began seizing private properties under the guise of “eminent domain.”