Update on Eviction from Riverdale
Here is a Press Release from the supporters of the Riverdale community, describing their eviction and the likely aftermath.
For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, June 12th, 2012
Twelve Day Blockade Ended; Supporters Say the Story is Not Over
After twelve days of community resistance against the displacement of
the residents of Riverdale Mobile Home Park for the construction of a
water withdrawal site, Aqua America’s private security arrived on
site today to erect a temporary fence around the property.
Pennsylvania State Police quickly surrounded the park where residents
and volunteers had blockaded access roads against vehicles contracted
by Aqua America. The Riverdale Mobile Home Park, which was sold to
Aqua America for the construction of a water withdrawal site, was
formerly the home of 32 families. Residents first learned of the sale
when it was posted in the newspaper, and quickly reached out for
support. Volunteers came from across Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York
to stay as guests to the residents, and stand beside the community.
Police warned that all future guests who enter the property would be
risking arrest--regardless of their relation to residents. Two former
residents of the park who stopped by to visit friends were prohibited
from entering the premises.
Friends and supporters stated that they would continue to stand
beside the residents, even if it meant risking arrest. Security
officials erected an orange fence in front of the community,
physically dividing the residents from the supporters, leaving the
latter on the outside of the property.
At the request of residents and out of great respect for their
wishes, volunteers dispersed when asked by residents to not be
“There will be other days when you’ll need to risk more, fight
harder,” said one resident, “but today is not that day. Take care
of yourselves and know how much we have appreciated your support.”
Residents and volunteers had stopped the construction of the
extraction site, permitted to withdraw up to 3 million gallons of
water from the Susquehanna River, which was set to begin on June 1st.
This tiny community fought back for the preservation of their homes,
families, the land, and the river surrounding them. The continued
support of locals and outsiders directly led to negotiations between
Aqua America and the remaining residents of Riverdale. As of this
morning, negotiations were still in progress.
As of this evening, Riverdale Mobile Home Park looked like “a
battle site,” as Shawn Paul Patterson, one of the hired security
guards, commented. The murals and signs painted by residents, their
children, and volunteers alike were dismantled and broken into larges
pieces strewing the front lawn. Despite the end of the blockade, and
the beginning of construction tomorrow, residents feel that their
supporters accomplished much in demonstrating the real ability of a
community to come together and stand.
“We are here today because we believe that everyone has a right to
have a home. We go today because it was always our intention to leave
when the residents no longer requested our help.” Said Jeff Anderson
of, Benton who had stood beside residents from the first day of the
blockade, “But the story is not over as long as big industry
continues to destroy, divide, and displace communities.”