23 families will lose homes for street widening project

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) When Richard and Julie Young moved into their dream home in 1982, Julie was expecting the couple's first child.

"I thought maybe I'd be here four to five years and get out," said Richard Young.

Thirty-two years later, the Youngs are still at the American Foursquare-style house on the north side of the 2300 block of 24th Street.

They don't want to move. But they are being forced out because of eminent domain.

The house was built in 1920, has a basement, first and second floors, and attic. And it is filled with a rich history, not to mention the memories of raising a family.

The couple had two sons, Richard Jr. and Ryan, who are now adults. They now have two grandchildren who visit frequently.

"I have memories of my kids growing up here. I have memories of their friends coming over, I have memories of my boys playing baseball," said a somber Julie Young.

Though the house is nearly 100 years old, the couple said they really have not done that much to change it. It's a house that has withstood the elements, surviving the 1952 earthquake that rocked Bakersfield and the rest of Kern County.

But, it appears it will fall to bulldozers.

The house, along with 22 others, stands in the path of a city project to widen 24th Street. Though the city has been debating the issue for decades, the City Council voted 6-1 Wednesday night to give the final approval to the project. All of the affected homes are in the Westchester area.

"It's been an ongoing topic, so we figured we would probably never live to see it, you know? Well, surprise!" said Richard Young.

The couple doesn't know where they will go once the city acquires their property through eminent domain. But they do not want to leave voluntarily.

"It really has made me sick to my stomach that I am being forced to leave," said Julie Young. "And I'm not leaving because I want to. I'm being forced."