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Residents forced to move from lake homes

CHARLESTON -- One by one her friends have been forced to move away, and she's next.
CHARLESTON -- One by one her friends have been forced to move away, and she's next. The City of Charleston has been leasing land to homeowners at Lake Charleston for decades, but in 2009, the leases weren't renewed. WCIA-3's Erica Quednau has the story of the final family to move from the area.

After years of lawsuits and appeals, people are finally gone. Tuesday, sheriff's deputies were sent to the lake to give court orders to anyone still there. Everyone was already gone except for the Durham family.

"For the most part, it's fishing and people take walks around here."

For 40-years, it's been home for Mary Durham.

"It was just beautiful and it was a nice place to live. We began meeting some really nice friends out here."

They owned their homes, but not the land. Four years ago, the city stopped leasing it.

"They eliminated the houses that we lived in for around 30-years in just a few seconds."

Durham and her neighbors tried to appeal the decision, but four years of lawsuits failed. Then everyone was told they had to get out.

"It's been real sad seeing the houses gone. I've noticed, since we're the only ones out here, it's a lot scarier."

Mary and her husband have their own lawsuit pending, so they don't have to move until that's over. But, a broken furnace is forcing them out sooner.

"We can't afford to just put money in a house that we may lose in a couple of months."

It's a house Durham put years of memories and hard work into.

"I put in two gardens and a lot of lilac bushes and things like that, that in my opinion, helped improve the looks of the park, and I hate to just see them all go. I'm sure that they'll just bulldoze everything."

Durham's lawsuit is expected to be over with within a couple of months. She's looking to get paid for her home. It's something she says none of her neighbors got.

The mayor of Charleston couldn't say much about the land battle because of the pending lawsuits, but he did say the city has plans to redevelop it into some sort of recreation facility. The mayor says they've been waiting for everyone to move before making any official plans.
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