Eminent Domain: Toledo Collins Park Water Treatment Expansion Halted

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The City of Toledo’s plan to buy property near the Collins Park Avenue water treatment plant for the purpose of expanding the plant has been put on hold. In July, Toledo City council voted to “disappropriate” previously approved funding for the purchase. Several Collins Park Avenue residents were in attendance at the council meeting to voice their opposition to selling their property to the City through eminent domain.

Twenty-eight homes had been targeted for purchase and demolition to make way for the water treatment plant expansion. The city had entered into purchase agreements with the owners of three properties. The City of Toledo had initially authorized the Public Utilities Department to spend a total of $700,000 to purchase the twenty-eight properties even though the City public utilities director had previously said that each home had a value of $50,000 to $71,000. At $50,000 per home, the minimum value of the twenty-eight homes is twice the amount the City was willing to pay. The City of Toledo had hoped to purchase all twenty-eight homes on a voluntary basis without the necessity of eminent domain proceedings.

A neighborhood preservation group – the Birmingham Development Corp. – spearheaded opposition to the project. The Collins Park Avenue area is an old and dignified neighborhood. Many families of the neighborhood have lived there for generations. They believe the City of Toledo has other options for expanding the water treatment plant.

Toledo Mayor Mike Bell used his veto power to strike down legislation to rescind the funding when the legislation was introduced. Toledo City Council overturned that veto by a vote of 11-1. Mayor Bell stated that the expansion of the water treatment plant is “inevitable.”

It is not clear what action the City of Toledo will take next, although there are reports that the City will explore purchasing the homes on a case-by-case basis by individual council resolutions, rather than attempting to purchase the entire block of homes.

If the City of Toledo informs you of its desire to purchase your home, contact the Ohio Eminent Domain attorneys at Clark, Perdue & List if you have questions about being treated fairly in the eminent domain process.