|E m i n E n t d o m a i n
|n. a right of a government to take private property for
public use by virtue of the superior dominion of the
sovereign power over all lands within its jurisdiction
jan. 13, 1995
611 w. 5th street, uptown charlotte, nc
setting: 1928 vintage 3 story warehouse,
structurally over built with huge cedar timbers,
18" thick brick walls, heart pine floors,
enormous window and totaling 18,800 sq.ft.
it was run down and neglected
covered with graffiti,
1080 broken windows,
no electricity, plumbing nor heat.
the neighborhood was frightening.
we saw beyond the shabby
to what it could be.
we had a vision and poured our hearts and souls into
bringing the old place back to life.
fast forward: 8 years later
the 1st floor gallery is outfitted with a stage,
pa and professional theatre lighting system.
the space morphs into a gallery, theatre, music venue.
16 studios surround the 2nd and 3rd floor galleries
you can feel the creative energy that
makes this building come to life.
a virtual think tank of creative forces nurturing,
encouraging, motivating, inspiring ...
our vision to become an incubator for the arts
has become a reality.
during our first 5 years,
as pioneers in the neighborhood, we had been robbed
and vandalized so many times i have lost count.
we even lost our beloved dog to gun shots.
then development began.
we were excited to be part of the changes in the
neighborhood. we lived with the dirt and inconvenience
of construction all around us for 3 years, looking
forward to its’ completion and the ability
to enjoy our new surroundings and neighbors.
we paid our dues and were ready to reap the rewards of
years of diligent hard work as pioneers in the area.
as the last orange cone was removed from in front of our
building the north carolina dept. of transportation,
rail division, instructed us to be out in 90 days.
"just compensation" was deposited with the clerk of court
the search began for a new home for our gallery,
theatre, musicians and artists.
i don’t shop much, but surely with a pile-o-cash in hand
you could find something you liked.
i was wrong.
there are no properties on the market in charlotte
that come close to providing the amenities
we currently enjoy.
the few properties that would make comparable new homes
carry asking prices 3-4 times the allotted
any property under consideration will require
significant up fit and another truckload of dollars to
re-create everything we currently have in place.
i just don’t get it - someone please explain it to me.
in a nutshell the task is to locate a suitable property,
negotiate and close on the property,
prepare an up fit plan
submit the plan to building standards,
await approval of the plan (conservatively 4 weeks)
accomplish the up fit,
move several tons of furnishings, stages, woodworking
equipment, art pedestals and partitions,
all 16 tenants belongings
and get on with business without interruption.
this is my livelihood
the sole means of support for my family
as a single parent.
a daunting task for the dwindling 90 days.
please explain to me how this can be accomplished
given the budget and time restraints I have been given.
how is this "just compensation"?
i don’t want more than i deserve.
my entire pie is being taken from me.
i just want to be put back together whole.
not a mere slice of my current circumstance.
sometimes i'm ashamed of myself for whining about
how to spend this pile-o-cash.
everyone in the world should be so fortunate.
but haven't we have paid our dues?
our place has been earned with risk,
hard work and years of diligence.
please explain to me why we don’t deserve
the equivalent of what we have earned.
we receive no corporate or government support.
we contribute to the community by providing a venue
for the public to experience all forms of art
as well as serving as an affordable venue for
emerging visual and performance artists to create,
exhibit and market their art form.
contributing members to our capitalistic society at no
expense to anyone. sounds like a pretty good idea to me.
the NCDOT decided that the amount of money i rake in
determines the value of my property. i chose to rent my
space to artists at a lesser amount than i could have
collected from other more affluent members of the
business community. am i to be penalized financially for
how i chose to operate my business?
if i were wealthy enough i would have charged even less
rent - then i’d be in really big trouble.
something is clearly wrong with this picture.
inevitably i'll be explaining to the talented artists
that have given our place life..."sorry guys,
it’s not a pretty sight, you’ll have to use your
imaginations. ... a few flowers, an exterminator, a yard
dog, some morning glories on the barbed wire, some
natural light ... and we’re home ... It’s going to be
great. Maybe in about 6 years or so, 10 tops. I’m sorry, really
I am, did the best I could, please don’t loose
confidence, let’s not lose momentum, please , we can do
it again, come on , where’s everyone going, don’t you see it
the arts and women in business have been put in their place
Lived & narrated by cindy hart
|today we are on
day 1371 of
happening with the land.
i just don't get it
someone please explain it to me
|the only evidence remaining that we
on august 3rd 2004 a settlement was reached with the ncdot
while there was no apology, it is apparent that the ncdot hugely short changed me.
in a nut shell, it's not really WHAT they do that pisses you off - it's how they do it.
|tri state sculptors exhibition
Hart Witzen Gallery
611 W. 5th St
Our beloved building went down in style dressed in it's finest
thanks to dozens of artists and 100 gallons of paint from Sherwin Williams & Home Depot
what a horrible waste
|thanks for the great photo chris radock
|November 22, 2003