CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (WDRB) -- A Charlestown neighborhood dating back to the 1940's is the source of heated debate.

Some say it's historic and needs preservation. Others say it's crime ridden and there needs to be a change.

These homes and these streets are what Josh Craven has known his whole life

"My grandfather owned the home that I live in, my father owned the home that I live in, and now I own the home I live in," said Craven, Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association President.

When word came out years ago that city leaders wanted to make changes in the neighborhood that dates back to World War II and the Charlestown Ammo Plant, he fought it.

The fighting continues today

"It's been talked about and talked about," Charlestown Mayor Bob Hall said.

To preserve, or to change? That's the question.

"Without Pleasant Ridge Homes, Charlestown would not be what it is today," Craven said.

"It's historic to them, but it's not to the community," Hall said.

The mayor says this is a trouble spot in the community that has to be addressed.

"We got high crime. We have a lot of drugs with it. It is the drug corridor of Charlestown," Hall said. 

But now, he says, is the tough part.

"We're still putting together what's feasible up there. At the end of the day, someone has to write a check to get this done, and the city doesn't have it," Hall said.

Someone who is already writing checks is Pleasant Ridge Development LLC. The firm says it has independently offered $10,000 to some owners for some properties. 

Their hope is to make this area more affordable. Repaving streets, improving sewers, and constructing new sidewalks would also be a part of the project. 

Still, to Craven it doesn't seem right.

"You can't blame the houses for the people," Craven said.

He also says he's working with the Indiana Landmarks Southern Regional Office to get a national historic label.

"That would give us more funding, that would give us more secruity," Craven said.

A heated debate with lot on the line that's not cooling off anytime soon. 

Pleasant Ridge Development LLC anticipates closing on some of the lots before the month's end. 

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