Building owners prepare to fight city over eminent domain

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)- The city of Fort Wayne wants to demolish buildings to make way for the riverfront development projects but the business owners are putting up a fight. Now it’s set to go to trial.

Two of the buildings are owned by Ream-Steckbeck Paint Co. The third building is owned by Cambray and Associates. Both of them are located near the intersection of Harrison Street and West Superior.

The city offered to buy the buildings months ago. According to court documents the city offered to by the Cambray and Associates building for about $447,000 and offered $818,000 for the Ream-Steckbeck buildings. There was no one available for comment at Cambray and Associates. John Steckbeck who owns Ream-Steckbeck Paint Co. only said that he was “puzzled by the low offer.”

Still the city isn’t taking no for an answer. The Fort Wayne Parks Department filed a lawsuit after the owners refused to sell their property. It would force the owners to give up the property through a process called eminent domain.The city hoped the judge would side with them, but instead the judge scheduled a trial. Now the city and business owners will have their day in court.

Without that land the city would not be able to move forward with its multi-million dollar riverfront project would include a promenade, park pavilion, and an elevated boardwalk. The new park would connect to Headwaters Park.

The trial is scheduled to begin November 8th and expected to last for two days.

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