Thursday, May 07, 2009


But then again…I don’t know why I am surprised at this:

So the government wants to make a memorial to Flight 93 on the land where it crashed. Many landowners are amenable to selling their property to the government, but a few aren’t…or perhaps they have set their prices so high as to make it basically prohibitive for the government to purchase. In my opinion: their prerogative.

So what’s the solution?:

"We always prefer to get that land from a willing seller. And sometimes you can just not come to an agreement on certain things," park service spokesman Phil Sheridan said.
"Basically, at this point, we have not been able to acquire all the land we need," he said.

The next step will be for the U.S. Justice Department to file a complaint in federal court. A court would have to decide the matter and would set a value on the land.

Two owners account for about 420 acres the park service plans to condemn, including Svonavec Inc. — which owns 275 acres, including the impact site where 40 passengers and crew died. About 150 acres are owned by a family that operates a scrap yard.

Most of rest of the land to be condemned are small parcels, two of which include cabins.

Tony Kordell said the park service visited him late Friday afternoon and made him an offer for his 150 acres. He declined to give the price, but said his attorney requested the appraisal used to determine the value on Monday.

He's not gotten that appraisal, he said Thursday. On Wednesday, he was told the park service would condemn the land.

Randall Musser owns about 62 acres that the park service wants to acquire.

"They apologized about the way it's come together, but what's sad is they had all these years to put this together and they haven't," he said.

Musser served on the committee that helped establish the park's boundaries and said landowners were promised in 2002 that eminent domain would not be used.

"It's absolutely a surprise. I'm shocked by it. I'm disappointed by it," said Tim Lambert, who owns nearly 164 acres that his grandfather bought in the 1930s. The park service plans to condemn two parcels totaling about five acres — land, he said, he had always intended to donate for the memorial.

"To the best of my knowledge and my lawyer, absolutely no negotiations have taken place with the park service where we've sat down and discussed this," Lambert said.

Obviously there are two sides to every story and this one seems to heavily quote the land owners, but I really don't like the idea of eminent domain being used in this situation.