C.P. hopes to build bike path without eminent domain: NWI Times, Munster IN, 2/13/07

Acquisition for 1.65-mile leg of bike path begins

By Bill Dolan

City [of Crown Point IN] officials said they hope to avoid using eminent domain when acquiring land this year for a future bicycle path.

Parks Director Julie Johnson said Monday the city is sending property owners notices that appraisers will begin estimating purchase offers for a 1.65-mile leg of the bike path known as the Penn-Erie Greenway.

"We will be putting the trail through, but using eminent domain is not our goal. We want to work with landowners," Johnson said.

That trail will follow an abandoned railroad south from the Erie Lackawanna trailhead at 93rd Avenue and Chase Street and curve behind Liberty Park subdivision to meet Summit Street west of Main Street.

Johnson said the railroad right of way, which was abandoned many years ago, has become part of the adjacent landowners' property and will have to be acquired by the city.

Eminent domain is the public taking of private property for fundamental government uses, including parks and recreation. The city last filed a condemnation complaint in 2005 to acquire property for a stormwater retention pond north of Summit Street between North Main Street and Merrillville Road.

Liberty Park subdivision residents have publicly expressed opposition to the bike trail.

The city and county parks also will begin land acquisition this year on another leg of the paved bike path, called the Veteran's Memorial Parkway Trail.

It will begin at 113th Avenue and U.S. 231 and proceed on the north side of U.S. 231, east to the intersection of Broadway and U.S. 231.

County Parks Director Robert Nickovich said last summer the proposed Veterans Memorial Parkway Trail would continue east of city limits, following the old Pennsy line.

NWI Times, Munster IN: http://nwitimes.com