The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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November 16, 2013

City OKs purchase of land next to Eagle Point Park

City seized land through eminent domain process

CLINTON — City officials approved a payment of $100,000 for property connected to Eagle Point Park that was seized by the city through the use of eminent domain.

At a council meeting on Tuesday, the city approved the payment to Tim and Annette Bice for their 21.5 acres of land adjacent to Eagle Point Park in Clinton.

In an attempt to justify the city's actions to seizing the property Tuesday, City Attorney Jeff Farwell explained what needed to be done to keep the integrity of Eagle Point Park.

"This is to act as a buffer zone to the park. The property basically butts right up against, within probably six or eight feet, of the serpentine drive that goes through the park," Farwell said. "Any of it would be open to logging or tree cutting then which could definitely impact the park."

The city also made the decision to acquire the property because of other issues that could drastically impact the park in the future, such as erosion and sewer maintenance.

"There's (also) a storm sewer in there that's eroding out that would have to be fixed. The city would have to cut some trees and basically bulldoze its way in to get to the thing," Farwell said. "The cost of just fixing the sewer outlet is more than the purchase price."

In addition to the $100,000 check made to the Bices, the city also approved the payment of $1,540.46 to be made to the Clinton County Sheriff's Department to cover service fees and commissioner costs acquired during the eminent domain process.

Since the discussion of using eminent domain to acquire the property began, there has been a number of issues that have surfaced, and residents in Clinton have wondered why the council didn't approve the purchase when the property went up for sale three years ago.

According to At-large Councilwoman Jennifer Graf, the city did attempt to purchase the property at approximately the same time as the Bices, but was unsuccessful.

With the payment in the books, the city must now wait to see if an appeal is filed by the Bices before it can move in closing on the property.

"The Bices still have an appeal process if they so choose to," Kinser said. "I'm not really sure how that process works...so I think we're just waiting to see what happens."

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