Downtown Landlords React to Eminent Domain Decision

By: Jon Hardison
By: Jon Hardison

Bowling Green's City Commission is establishing tighter restrictions on it's ability to take away your private property for public use.

Some downtown landlords who are in the midst of negotiations with the city give that decision mixed reviews.

"We're happy about that. Course that could change in one meeting of course. That's the way it goes," said Steve Stephenson, who owns a car lot on the courner of 5th and State Streets.

Mr. Stephenson's car lot is one of the prime pieces of property that the city wants to buy to complete the Circus Square project.

He says he doesn't mind moving but doesn't want to be pressured into selling out at an unfair price.

Commissioners who support these changes say that's their ultimate goal.

"It puts the power back in the hands of the people. When you're negotiating for your property it's got to be an uneasy feeling that if you ask for too high a price, the person you're negotiating with, in this case the government, can turn around and say 'no that's not the price we're going to pay you.' Here's the price we're going to pay," said Commissioner Brian "Slim" Nash.

But Mayor Walker says these new restrictions could encourage land speculators to come in and demand unreasonable prices for prime land.

She says that could cost hundreds of thousands in extra tax dollars.

The new eminent domain law took effect Tuesday night.

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