Cumberland MD House’s Underfire

Where do I even begin to write this. My blog is usually about my fun adventures but for now it’s going to take a serious note and I’m going to talk about the houses in the area I call home.

This was once called the Rolling Mill Project but has since been turned into The Maryland Avenue Restoration Project or something to that effect. Either way Please read on..

My home was built for my Great Great Aunt as a Wedding present way back in 1897. Her Father bought the land an built the home that I am living in today. I have lived here on and off with my family from the time I was born and after losing my Parents in the late 90’s  my Grandma gave me this home, with the promise that I would take care of it as best as I could. My Father battled cancer from 1994 to 1997 and a lot of the upkeep stopped, simply because he spent almost a year in the hospital and just couldn’t take care of it anymore.

After the home was signed over to me I started getting letters from the city in about 2006-07 telling me that my home was rundown. It didn’t meet the city codes. My front porch roof was falling down and it needed fixed. So I had a local Organization called Camp Hope that came in an helped me fix up my front porch. But afterward the the city comes again with more letters threatening fines up to 350.00 a day because I had Insulbrick on my home and it was a fire hazard. Under Cumberland standards it HAD to be fixed or I would be fined daily. I was a server at a local Golf Resort at the time. No one will give a server a loan based on their income. So after a few months I finally found a lower housing income project thanks to my Aunt and Uncle that could help me save my home. Keep me from more fines that I could never pay and make my house look pretty again. I had siding put on. Full electrical rewire, new roof and 22 brand new windows put on this house. Since then I also had a privacy fence installed around my yard. Redid the hardwood floors. Refinished the wood mouldings to their original state. Painting an various other remodeling as well. Brought everything up to meet the city’s standards. And they finally quit harassing me.


The First Remodel in 1971

This home is my rock the safe place I can go to when the world is not such a nice place. Like Linus has his blanket, I have my home. But now my Safe Haven is under fire along with 63 other homes.

To say we were all blindsided by this mess wouldn’t even touch it. Let me explain.. Back in April my next door neighbors were moving out. They informed me their landlord had told them the city was coming after the entire block of homes. I just figured it was some kind of rumor. I mean why would they be taking all of our homes? So I never really gave any of this much thought at all. May rolls around and I hear the LandLord was told they were taking his home because it was rundown and they were taking blighted properties. I inquired about this at the City Hall in July. I talked to the Mayor on Facebook and several city officials and they just replied that they had a bullseye on four homes in that area because they were eyesores. I found this odd but who am I to judge.

So now we’re on to the middle of August. One of my neighbors stops by to see if any city officials  had been by to see me ? And then he preceeded to tell me that they were planning on taking all of our homes. HOW is this even possible? I own my home, my loan they basically made me get is always paid. So I take to  Facebook and start asking questions. I messaged the Mayor he basically tells me to be ready their coming and to know what I need to leave. You have got to be kidding me. I talked to these same people less then a month before this Not one informed me that they had a bullseye on my home as well.

So after doing some research my friend who is a Real Estate Agent gives Sean Hershberger my number from the CEDC group and tells him to call me. Sean inforned her that he had already spoken to me. She then informed him that I had not spoken to anyone and he changed his words and said I was on the *To Call* list. So Sean then calls me and tells me there’s no need to stress or worry because they were not doing anything  yet. However the city would probably  be taking the homes for a project sometime in the future. I could go get my home Appraised and get back to him. Because  IF they were to go through with this project they would offer me the Tax Assessment Value,  which was only 30k and had dropped over $7,000 from last year. And a extra 5k for moving expenses. I was also informed that I lived in the highest crime area in the city. They had to start somewhere to clean it up and we were ground zero. I am not afraid to walk out of my house at 3am it’s not any worse then the rest of Cumberland at the moment. Or any other small town in the US for that matter. And his last statement to me was this “We do hope that you will stay in the Cumberland area”. Yes I think I will because I’m not giving you my home! NOTE: This was the only convo I have had with the CEDC or City Council an it took place on August 26th.

Now.. if you go back up and read I have only had my loan that the city basically forced me into getting for 8yrs now. They are trying to give me less then what I now owe on that loan. I pretty much have to pay them to leave my house and have nothing to show for it. So where does that leave me? Homeless. I invested in this home. One because I pretty much had to Avoid fines Two so I could secure my future an future family generations that may want to live here. Everything  I have done and invested will now become either a parking lot or a strip mall that no one will visit. We have an entire downtown already full of empty buildings. I even tried contacting the Historical Society to help me but was told my home was on the *Wrong End* of the city.

I’m aware the Mayor went walking the neighborhood with a resident in the same situation on Ceclia Street an when they got to mine. The Mayor kept referencing back to 2007 when it was in their eyes blighted. My neighbors reply? This isn’t 2007 this is 2015 and she has a gorgeous home.

scan0003My home before the remodel in 2007

I also need to mention that this back porch that you see in the picture below has a detached summer kitchen. My Grandfather Joseph Koegel was one of the Founding Members of the Cumberland Outdoor Club. And that Organization  started in this same summer kitchen. That may not mean anything to some. But to others it gives this house a little more history.

2015-09-27 11.40.29.jpg

My Home after in 2015

2015-09-27 11.40.59.jpg

There is nothing blighted about my Historic Old Family Home. I think she’s rather beautiful. But if the Cumberland City Council has their way it will be a parking lot by next summer. Help me #SAVEMYHOME

I ask this.. Where will I go with 30,ooo dollars? That’s if they forgive the loan I have with them. I’m 45 yrs old. Everything I have ever worked for has went into this place and I’m supposed to just except this an leave. What would you do?

Tonight I attended my first City Council meeting. I didn’t speak because I quite simply didn’t know what to expect. What I came away with? Was the fact that these council members do not care about who is living here or what they have to do in order to get our properties. Their intent is to Low Ball us an then bulldoze the land. Then flip it for a few million more. There was question’s asked. The replies? We can’t answer these questions. Why?  When another resident asked how we would buy another home for 30k? The Mayor just shook his head with no reply. As I was leaving I was approached by this Sean Hershberger. The same Gentleman that had called me way back on August 26th. Saying Hi Susan, I spoke to you on the phone here is my card. So nearly 5mths later this happens. I simply walked out the door an said I Do Not wish to talk to you.

My life is currently a nightmare through no fault of my own


28 thoughts on “Cumberland MD House’s Underfire

  1. james December 16, 2015 / 7:27 pm

    That bad thing is you will sell your home to them or they will just take it they did it to a few when they put 68 in they are all crooked


  2. Holly Dyche December 16, 2015 / 10:59 pm

    Are you able to refuse the offer? This is Ludacris.


    • MysticDreamer98 December 17, 2015 / 4:52 am

      They want to talk to us. At the current moment none of us are under negotiations because their offers as you can see are ridiculous I think the most anyone got out of the 64 homes so far was 45,000 it may have been less but it was not more


      • Frau Susan December 17, 2015 / 5:59 pm

        I think your remodeled house is beautiful and it’s definitely worth a lot more than $30,000 market value. I haven’t kept up with the city’s plan on the Rolling Mill Project but from what I have read it sounds like another boondoggle by the city of Cumberland. I’m not a lawyer but it has always been my layman’s understanding that a government cannot forcibly take away a persons real property without applying the laws of Eminent Domain and under Eminent Domain they need to offer “just compensation” for the property which is defined as “fair market value”. Since I’m not a lawyer I think it would be highly advisable to consult one in this regard and it might even be more advantageous to talk to someone other than a local attorney. I get the impression these local attorneys don’t like to make waves. I know this costs money and the city fathers are well aware of this but perhaps some of the people living in this community who will be affected could get together and consult a qualified attorney in these types of cases.


      • Cathy Barger December 17, 2015 / 7:55 pm

        The “Mayor” said none of this is true..hmm…He said it in the Times New..


      • MysticDreamer98 December 17, 2015 / 8:46 pm

        Reasons why I wrote this blog. This is the nightmare I’m living right now. Feel free to share it because people need to see the voices behind these homes


  3. Sonsera Walker December 17, 2015 / 5:42 pm

    Eric, I think your remodeled house is beautiful and it’s definitely worth a lot more than $30,000 market value. I haven’t kept up with the city’s plan on the Rolling Mill Project but from what I have read it sounds like another boondoggle by the city of Cumberland. I’m not a lawyer but it has always been my layman’s understanding that a government cannot forcibly take away a persons real property without applying the laws of Eminent Domain and under Eminent Domain they need to offer “just compensation” for the property which is defined as “fair market value”. Since I’m not a lawyer I think it would be highly advisable to consult one in this regard and it might even be more advantageous to talk to someone other than a local attorney. I get the impression these local attorneys don’t like to make waves. I know this costs money and the city fathers are well aware of this but perhaps some of the people living in this community who will be affected could get together and consult a qualified attorney for these types of cases.


  4. Kristy December 18, 2015 / 12:51 am

    Me and my fiancé were forced to move from our home by our landlord that sold the home to the city, on Cecelia street. We literally asked him over and over again about it prior to it happening and he would tell us we had nothing to worry about. Only to serve us a notice to vacate within weeks later. We were giving the daunting task of finding a home a month before the holidays, in the already over crowded south Cumberland area. We had to come up with security deposits and moving expenses without any notice. The city offered us $500 to help with expenses but, we won’t get it till around February or March of 2016…. Big help!!! It’s disgusting that our so called Mayor and city council has such little concern for the major housing problem that Cumberland has, that they can justify demolishing 63 homes…. Homes that by any standard are nice decent homes… Smh… Bet they’d feel different if it was the place they laid their heads at night.


    • MysticDreamer98 December 18, 2015 / 1:45 am

      I am so sorry that you had to even go thru this. There is no compassion not even with the landlords that sold out. Thank you for reaching out. Stories like yours needs to be heard

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lisa December 18, 2015 / 8:14 am

    It sounds like you need a good eminent domain lawyer. Can you talk to your neighbors about it? Maybe you can all get together to retain a lawyer. One thing about eminent domain – the govt is required to compensate you for the “highest and best” use of your land, not necessarily what they consider fair market value right now. You may want to have a better compensation number in mind in case this goes to trial. Best of luck to you. I’m so sorry this is happening to you.


  6. Venita Kelly December 20, 2015 / 5:48 pm

    Hire an attorney that specializes in your situation. If they are doing this to multiple neighborhoods you could have a class action law suit. They owe you fair market value if they take it by eminent domain.
    State and federal governments rule over some of what the city can do.
    Don’t let them bulldoze you!


  7. JC December 20, 2015 / 7:35 pm

    I can say try You can find a house for way under 30k. It’ll need some fixing up. Take the 30k deal because the home is on Columbia Avenue and it is under 20k. You might have to spend some money but at the end you won’t need to worry about another renewal project. If you need to get a small loan you might be able to afford that small monthly payment mainly for renovations.


    • MysticDreamer98 December 21, 2015 / 6:49 pm

      Here’s the problem with that. I don’t want to give them my house that I already put 50k work into and still owe 36k on to move into a rundown area in cumberland that needs even more work. I Won’t put anymore money into this town an anyone that wants to buy a house here will probably end up in one of the 7 project areas that the city wants. No thank you. At the moment I have to pay them nearly 2000 to leave a home they want to tear down & that leaves me with not a penny to invest. And theres NO way im settling for 30k


      • Brad January 8, 2016 / 4:28 pm

        Make them move your home to a vacant lot. Get a lawyer, but don’t ignore the City, this will only cause problems. Talk to the Mayor, he is a reasonable person, and not the enemy like so many people are making him out to be.


      • MysticDreamer98 January 8, 2016 / 5:29 pm

        Been there done that. He’s at the head of all of this an his council members were the ones knocking on our front doors.


  8. B.L. Davis December 21, 2015 / 5:51 pm

    I think you need to speak with your congress persons, and the governor, the more people that know that are in power may get you some help. Find out what their real agenda is and get a lawyer’s advice.


  9. Amanda Nottelling January 7, 2016 / 8:39 pm

    What B.L. said. Go above their heads. Someone somewhere will listen. I mean make a big presentation, prepare your speech and go for it. You have the fiery passion it takes and long time dedication to your family’s legacy – that is YOUR HOME. No one should be able to take that away from you. Keep writing the newspapers, call tv stations, radios – get your story out there. If you can’t win by oing to the politicians directly? Go get public opinion on your side. If you get enough public outcry, they will have to listen. I’d sign a petition for you if it would help. Might at least show those money grubbing jerks that they can’t get away with tearing the house from underneath you. I can’t imagine if someone told me I couldn’t stay at the family home I was born and raised in. Absolutely insane that they’ve harassed you this much. I’m sure you’re not alone in this either. I know I’m being forced to move out of the apt I live in now and have for 2 years because the land lord is tired of not meeting codes and such. He is getting fined by the city. They want to drive out the people who aren’t made of money. It’s not right and we shouldn’t stand for it. I’ll support you in any way I can. Just let us know how we can help you.

    -Amanda Nottelling

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Delores Leutert January 8, 2016 / 3:44 pm

    So sad that this has to come to our town . People with no respect for the middle person. I live in an old house over 100 years and yes it takes so much to keep these homes updated. I hope someone step forward and help you do your fight. Your competitors are landlords that just wanted to get rid of their junk and run down houses that people didn’t have money to put in them I’m sure someone else is got to be in the same situation there you can team up with fight this you may still move but with a better outcome. Good luck, payers for you and all involved.


  11. liz January 8, 2016 / 3:57 pm

    Go way over political heads in this area. Go straight to Governor. Take this story to the press. I will be sharing your story. You need a lawyer from out of town. I dont mean Hagerstown or Baltimore……this reads like a good movie….get it? Documentary! Interviews with all 68 homeowners and video footage of homes and property. Be a huge squeaking wheel. I wish you the best of luck…..


  12. Concerned party January 9, 2016 / 12:00 am

    I would first lodge an objection that the “City of Cumberland” operating as a political subdivision of the United States(proven by the use of a federal tax identification number) lacks constitutional authority to operate or seize or acquire property beyond the ten miles square of the District of Columbia. They are illegitimate and have no constitutional authority. Not legal advice just a proper objection.


  13. David Leon Powers January 9, 2016 / 1:25 am

    Eminent domain means the power of the state to take private property. U.S. will give you a better deal than any other country I know. Just be glad you don’t live in a third world country. That said, I see these things a lot everywhere in the world. As the Apocalypse approaches, the loss of private property and human rights will increase. The identity of the Antichrist will be known in 2016. The rapture will take place between now and 2022. The cashless global system of having 666 on your right hand or forehead will begin after 2022, and be warned that anyone who accepts the mark on their right hand or forehead will not make it to the kingdom of heaven. And finally, Jesus will return around 2030 to set up the heavenly kingdom on earth, so persevere, and believe that Christ is able to carry you, and take care of you if you love Him, and all His perfect ways. I pray that He will reveal Himself to you, and allow you to enter His kingdom. I also ask Him to show you His ways, and teach you His precepts. Amen!


  14. Justin January 9, 2016 / 7:47 am

    You can always do a petition. Or send a letter to the federal government telling them what you think there is always options to fight back and keep what’s yours don’t give up and try contacting a news station about it see if they will interview you the Media sometimes works.I have seen Cumberland fall apart over the past couple of years and it’s sad and all you see is closed doors not to many jobs left anymore I would really like to see someone take that city back and make it real again.


  15. JoAnn Dermer January 19, 2016 / 2:20 am

    Your home is beautiful. You need to get an attorney, check with legal aid, and a new appraisal of your property. When you did the loan, they did an appraisal of it before it was remodeled, you need an ‘after remodel’ appraisal to show the updated value. You also can see if you can refinance your loan, your loan to value has changed, you may get a better rate/ reduced payment.


  16. Starr Binge January 24, 2016 / 4:14 pm

    It’s as simple as this a Non Profit Orgatiazon can no take your Property. That’s who is trying to take it. Only the City can take it if they need it for a Road or Hwy way . They have to do a lot of Red tape to ever do that. So I would call People like the Governor or Senator or Congress Man or Woman. You have your rights. Use them. Good luck. ask the City to give you something in writing.


  17. Richard January 24, 2016 / 7:55 pm

    8 yrs ago there were no plans for the MD Ave project. if you have had 8 yrs to plan then why plan your future there. You may feel safe but I don’t. the reason for moving or expanding the area is; Rt 68 is now Interstate 68. This makes a big difference, in the future we will have access to businesses both east and west, What makes your home different? Nothing! look at LaVale, All the building there is easily accessed from 68. Do you think the people wanted to sell to Cracker Barrel? Take notice of one home left standing. Rumor has it the would not negotiate. I’ll sell you a home for $30,000, new siding, new windows, fence yard, and off street parking. It is in the south end side of town. I must admit I do not agree with the way the city is handling this. it seems legal is the way to go. Seems to me you talked to everyone but a lawyer. Why talk to Grimm. He is an asshole! He sold out our town. I bet he got a share along with the others. Elections is the way to talk to a politician. My opinion Grimm should have never, ever been elected the second term. You get what you voted for. Sell and move on!


    • MysticDreamer98 January 31, 2016 / 9:22 pm

      There is alot more to this now then when I first wrote this blog back in December an was not allowed to put certain things out there. That have sense been posted in the times news. And sorry if I was to move it would be straight out of this city. I would not give them another dime of my money. Or anyone else for that matter. Thanks for your advice but selling isn’t an option i am taking at this point


  18. Damien January 28, 2016 / 8:15 pm

    Has anybody looked into federal laws?


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