District's diplomacy eases plans to expand
The (Cleveland OH) Plain Dealer, 9/22/04

Lakewood schools, landowners strike deals

by Patrick O'Donnell

Asking has worked better than seizing when it comes to acquiring land for public projects in Lakewood [OH].

By avoiding the use of eminent domain, the tactic that derailed a $151 million proposal to redevelop the city's West End, the school district has managed to quietly acquire more than 20 homes to expand schools.

"We're not doing eminent domain, on the heels of what happened in the West End," said Treasurer Richard Berdine.

The district needs the land to convert Harrison and Garfield Elementary schools into middle schools and to improve parking and playgrounds.

The two projects are part of its $170 million plan to replace aging buildings and cut the number of schools from 14 to 10.

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