Since 1741, York, Pennsylvania has been a salt-of-the-earth American city, touting a proud cultural, architectural and industrial history. But like most American urban centers since the 1950s, steady migration to the suburbs has allowed financial strain, poverty, crime and blight to become York’s current hallmarks and greatest challenges.
In the midst of these challenges, some have sought a revolution in York - an economic revolution. In 2004, municipal, county and area business leaders unveiled a plan to redevelop a low-income, residential neighborhood and build a minor league stadium, heralding it as the vital heart of a comprehensive, city-wide redevelopment vision. Who could argue against baseball, a powerful icon of American nostalgia? Who could argue against such a gift to such a beleaguered city?
But what happens to the people and families who had to leave their homes? Houses are built with wood and nails; brick and mortar. Homes, however, are built over time with family and memories; they are deeply associated with our sense of identity and security. Whether through eminent domain or amicable negotiations, the questions arises: how does one assess the intangible value of home?
This is a story of an American urban space and its complex transformation. It is also the story of one woman’s experience, leaving her home of 50 years, starting over and perhaps paying the biggest price of all for baseball and the city.