Video by Cris McConkey. Photos by Wendy Lynne Lee. Riverdale Mobile Home Park, Piatt Township, Lycoming County, Pa. Monday, June 4, 2012. Wendy Lynne Lee, Bloomsberg University Professor of Philosophy talks with Riverdale resident and activist Debra Eck, one of seven residents compelled to stay after the park was sold to Aqua America. The company plans to build a water withdrawal facility to supply water for hydrofracking.
Debra Eck talks about the shock of reading about the sale in the newspaper. She speaks about complicity of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission in granting the withdrawal permit knowing full well that 32 families would lose their homes. And she does buy Aqua America’s statement that they thought there were getting the property free and clear of any residents.
But it is her recounting of what it means to live in community that is most compelling. “We all took care of each other. This wasn’t just a bunch of trailers sitting on a plot of ground with people who didn’t know anybody, didn’t care about each other. We were all here, we were all in this together. we’re all neighbors, friends. Its like we were all one big family.”
Eck says she was compelled to stay. “Some of the residents have cleaned out their IRA’s –they took their retirement money for god’s sake– to facilitate the move.”
Two days after this interview, an Aqua America crew arrived with a state police escort to erect a perimeter fence. A few residents decided to stay bit have asked supporters to leave and not get arrested. This story, and the resistance, is far from over.