Condemnation is a scary word when you hear it in a governmental meeting. Members who attended the Marshall County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday heard that word mentioned.
What is condemnation? Condemnation is the acquisition or taking of private property for a public purpose. Under the Condemnation Statute for the State of Indiana, an entity with the power of condemnation must first investigate the property to be acquired and then make a “good faith offer” to purchase the real estate.
During County Highway Superintendent Jason Peters’s discussion of bridge projects condemnation was mentioned and will likely be used to obtain the necessary property for a bridge replacement project on 11th Road and possibly Upas Road.
Katie McLear from USI Consultants discussed Bridges # 87 on 11th Road and #120 on Upas Road. The two projects are currently being set for bidding in December but with all the property owners adjacent to 11th Road not responding to the appraisal offer letters sent for land acquisition it is feared the project won’t be ready for bid. McLear said INDOT is familiar with the project and the issues and would be willing to delay the bidding but is still pushing to have it ready for December.
The USI consultant said the schedule to keep everything on track requires the property acquisitions to be completed by September 14th. The letters sent gave property owners a deadline to accept or deny the offer and they are past that point. On the 11th Road bridge, not one property owner has responded and on the Upas Road bridge, they have received responses from a couple of adjacent property owners.
McLear said the next reasonable step is to begin condemnation proceedings.
County Attorney Jim Clevenger said the condemnation process takes 4 to 6 months to complete so they wouldn’t make the timeline to keep the projects moving forward for the December bid process. The commissioners decided to begin the condemnation process if no contract or decision is made by this Friday, July 8th on the appraisal offers.