Eminent domain is last resort for Walker Tower Avenue project: Walker MN Pilot-Independent, 11/15/06

By Dean Morrill

The Walker City Council decided it couldn't wait any longer and will proceed with eminent domain action to complete the Tower Avenue and Second Street projects to connect to Highway 371.

Over the last few months, the city has been talking with property owners to purchase easements, based on market values.

At the Nov. 6 regular meeting, the council decided not to wait any longer and to move forward with eminent domain. The project includes road, water and sewer to the new Walker Area Community Center that is already under construction.

The council, which first discussed eminent domain at the Sept. 18 special council meeting, said this is a last resort to obtain the property owned by Living Waters Church and Pat Tabaka.

Scott Bruns made the motion, seconded by Ken Bresley, to proceed with eminent domain. John Fjelstul and Mayor Brad Walhof all approved the measure, with Mary Beth Mohr voting against.

The resolution directs city attorney John Valen to acquire the real estate and to notify the owners of the city's intent to take possession.

The Living Waters Church property includes 0.46 acres of permanent right-of-way, 0.13 acres of drainage easement and 0.08 acres of temporary slope easement that will be returned to the church once the project is complete.

The city needs three parcels of Tabaka's property. The first includes 0.27 acres of permanent easement and 0.30 of temporary slope easement. The second parcel is 1.05 acres of permanent right-of-way, 0.04 of permanent driveway easement and 0.18 acres for temporary slope easement.

The final parcel is 0.26 acres of permanent drainage easement.

Tabaka gave the Walker Area Community Center board the property it needed to build the center.

In ongoing discussions with the Walker American Legion Club, both parties have agreed to complete a business subsidy agreement to finalize a tax abatement on the increased assessed market value of the club's new renovation project.

Over a 15-year period, the city would abate $74,034.83 in taxes based on a renovation project, while the Legion will continue to pay the taxes they currently do.

No timetable was set for when both parties would finalize the agreement.

Walker MN Pilot-Independent: http://www.walkermn.com