CLINTON — A civil trial began Monday morning in connection with 21 acres of land near Eagle Point Park.
Michael McCarthy, attorney for plaintiffs Tim and Annette Bice, began his case to prove his clients deserve more than the $100,000 the couple is slated to receive for more than 21 acres of land the city of Clinton is taking, through eminent domain, to expand the nearby park. The Bices appealed the amount assessed by the Clinton County Compensation Commission in November, hoping to receive closer to $221,000 for the land. A jury of eight members was chosen Monday morning to decide the issue.
During the first day of the trial, McCarthy called witnesses in an attempt to show that the land, which Bice purchased for $49,900, is actually worth more due to potential timber and development revenues. Tim Bice testified that in 2008, he considered purchasing the property for more than $200,000, but decided against it. In 2010, when the owner’s sister sent a letter to both Bice and the city, saying she was now in charge of the property and was offering it for $49,900, Bice said he jumped at the chance.
“Shortly after, the city becomes interested, but it’s too late,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy argued in his opening statements that just because his client purchased the property at a reduced rate, does not mean the city should give him a reduced amount for taking the land.
“And when the government takes your property, they have to pay you not what you payed for it, but what it is worth,” McCarthy said.
Bice and McCarthy told the court that Bice planned to harvest some of the timber and develop the land. Keith Griebel, from Steines & Griebel Logging, Inc., and Michael Shamsie, a civil engineer and the president of Landmark Engineering Group, were both called to the stand by McCarthy to testify about his client’s plans for the land.