Corp of Engineers to buy Vernon land to expand Peason Ridge - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Corp of Engineers to buy Vernon land to expand Peason Ridge

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VERNON PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - "I raised my two sons right there, and then we have my mother and father's place right here."

When the Edwards family heard about the land acquisition, losing their home was the first thing that came to their minds.

"Emotionally I am devastated. Like my son told you earlier our families were raised here," said Sammy Edwards, an affected homeowner.

Four generations are now living on the land that is being sought by the government for Peason Ridge, a U.S. Army training area.

"I can't imagine losing this, and having to start all over. I can't imagine."

This family says their homes are not for sale.

"I am going to tell them I still do not want to move. This is my land and my home," said Brannon Edwards.

Jeanie Parker is also affected by the land acquisition. For her, it's not just about the land or possessions, but the memories of her family and her husband that passed away.

It is all him and it is kind of like you are taking that away too, that memory away," said Parker.

The Army Corp of Engineers held a meeting to explain what was going on with the expansion.

The landowners that attended the meeting say they are unsure what the future holds - including Vernon Parish Sheriff Sam Craft, whose family has lived there for more than 60 years.

"I really didn't gather a lot from that meeting. They really didn't give a lot of information out. Really we do not know a whole lot more than when we got there," said Sheriff Craft.


However, Fort Polk says that the landowners were given the information they need.

"The portion of the briefing was direct and concise. And they did have about 20 members of the corps of engineers at the meeting that were available for land owner questions," said Kim Reischling, with Fort Polk.

Some of the residents affected by the land acquisition are supportive of expanding Peason Ridge because it helps train troops. At the same time, they don't want it to come at the expense of their family homes.


"We do not want to be a stumbling block for Fort Polk progress, Fort Polk growth. But they got ample ground to do that all and draw a line around us," said Sheriff Craft.
 
The Army Corps of Engineers say they hope to have written offers to landowners by July.

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