City to move on condemnation of resident's property

The Craig City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve a resolution to obtain four Craig lots by right of eminent domain.

The decision came after an hour-long executive session at which council members discussed attempts to negotiate for the lots and the possible legal ramifications of approving the resolution.

Executive sessions are meetings that are closed to the public.

The Stout Street lots belong to Sandra Baird, who said she's willing to sell the lots, but not at the price the city offered her.

She said she wanted the opportunity to sit down with city employees and negotiate, but wasn't given the chance.

In fact, she said she wasn't even informed of the two council meetings that were held to discuss the property.

Craig Mayor Dave DeRose said the city made an offer of the full appraisal price, which was rejected. That action, he said, effectively closed the negotiations.

The case can still be settled out of court should Baird accept the offer. If not, it will go to court.

The city will be required to pay the full appraisal price in order to condemn the property.

"If we can still negotiate, we don't want to go to court," DeRose said. "We never do."

The property will be used to extend Industrial Avenue, an alternative listed in a 1982 traffic study

to help ease traffic on W. Victory Way.

"We found the study, said we paid to do this and we should implement it," DeRose said. "I don't think it's something we should wait until there is a problem to do."

The resolution states there is a public need to extend Industrial Avenue to provide additional access by the public and emergency services to surrounding commercial and residential properties.

The resolution authorizes the city attorney "to take all necessary legal action to obtain immediate possession of the property through eminent domain or condemnation."

Baird has hired an attorney but would not comment on what her next step would be. Litigation is a possibility.

She said the city negotiated personally with two other property owners involved but would not speak with her.

"I would like to sit down at the table and talk to them and tell them what I want and why, but I haven't been given the opportunity," Baird said.

According to DeRose, Baird has asked for another appraisal and asked that the city pay for it. DeRose said the city paid for the first appraisal and would not pay for a second.

In other business, the council:

Unanimously approved the renewal of a tavern liquor license for Mathers' Bar Inc.

Presented six youths, John and Holly Shipley and Andrea, Samantha, D.J. and Jessica Williams with certificates of appreciation. They saw an elderly neighbor trying to clean his yard and volunteered two days of their time to help him.

"I applaud you in your efforts and your citizenship," Mayor Dave DeRose said. "I'm just proud to have you as members of our community.

In addition to plaques, the children each received ten passes to the wave pool.

Awarded a bid of $166,602.45 to Connell Resources for the 2002 asphalt project, which is an annual maintenance plan that includes the overlay of selected city streets.

Awarded a bid of $90,594.38 to Hughes Supply, Inc., for mechanical fittings for the First Street water main project.

Approved the first reading of an ordinance to extend the hours outdoor sound amplifying equipment can be used. The hours will be extended on Friday's, Saturdays and on the eve of national holidays.

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