Development Could Lead To Eminent Domain — WBNS-TV (Columbus OH), 12/12/04

Neighbors voiced their opposition Saturday night

The Milo Grogan neighborhood is organizing against a proposal for a new shopping center that would wipe out 200 homes through eminent domain.

About a hundred people met at a Gibbard Avenue church Saturday night to shore up opposition to plans being proposed by developer Jerome Solove.

People living in the near north side neighborhood do not oppose the idea of revitalizing the area. But they object to tearing down homes in order to do it. They say his idea to make something of the old Timken bearing factory at Cleveland and Fifth avenues is fine.

They want Solove to find another way than asking the city to condemn hundreds of homes surrounding 31 acre factory side.

"He's already rich,” Daisy Milner said of Solove. “We're poor folks. We work every day. Why can't we be heard? Can't we be heard?"

But the city may already be listening to residents of the area.

"Nobody wants to do eminent domain,'' Columbus Development Director Mark Barbash told the Columbus Dispatch earlier this week. "Columbus is such a conservative community that to start a project with eminent domain is the wrong place to start.

"The first thing you talk about is what's best for the neighborhood,'' Barbash said.

At the same time, Barbash didn’t explicitly rule out the possibility.

"The last thing I want to do,'' he said, "is get down on a redevelopment opportunity.''

Jerome Solove bought the empty Timken plant this past fall. At the height of its operation, Timken employed 5,400 people. When it closed in 2001, about 220 people were still employed there.

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