Abilene Civic Center to get additional parking

City Council also moving forward with eminent domain

ABILENE, Texas - The Abilene Civic Center will get more parking and eminent domain proceedings are in the works for a Hamby pipeline.

More parking spots are on the way to the Abilene Civic Center.

Thursday, the Abilene City Council voted to purchase a building located at 781 Cypress St.

The former Abilene Tile & Construction Company sits on the north side of the parking lot.

The building will be torn down and the new space will offer more parking.

The purchase cost of the building is $150,000.

The city council will also move forward with eminent domain proceedings for a water pipeline.

Eminent domain is the power of the government to take private property and convert it into public use.

City Manager Larry Gilley said the pipeline is critical for our future water supply from the Hamby Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The plant is currently being improved to pump treated, effluent water back into Lake Fort Phantom Hil.

At first, all property owners on the pipeline's route orally agreed to the project. Two of those property owners have signed an agreement; the third has backed out and is now not giving the city easement.

The council decided Thursday that there is a public purpose for the pipeline and will now move forward with the eminent domain, or condemnation, procedure.

Negotiations will continue, however, with the property owner; the city said using eminent domain is their last resort.

Here are the facts on the condemnation procedure:

1. Public meeting and record vote to condemn and declare public use.

2. Deliver in writing an initial offer to purchase the property from landowners. Must include all appraisals obtained within last 10 years. Also include Landowner Bill of Rights.

3. Negotiate purchase. If no agreement, send final offer to purchase to landowner. Must wait at least 30 days from date of initial offer to date of final offer.

4. Must obtain a new written appraisal of the property during the 30 day waiting period and send it along with the final offer. Final offer must be equal to or more than the newly obtained appraisal.

5. Along with the final offer, must include a copy of proposed deed/easement.

6. Must provide landowner at least 14 days to respond/agree to the final offer before initiating court proceeding to condemn.

7. If condemnation lawsuit filed, then must serve landowners and court appoints 3 disinterested special commissioners to conduct hearing on amount to be paid landowners for property.

8. Hearing may not be conducted until at least 20 days after special commissioners appointed.

9. After hearing, commissioners make their ruling in writing 1 day after hearing.

10. Landowner has until the first Monday following 20 days to object to the commissioners' award, and appeal the case to District Court for a de novo civil trial.

 11. City can take possession of the property during the civil trial by posting bond in the amount of the award.

12. Only issue of civil trial is amount of damages to award landowners. Civil trial can last 6-12 months to resolve.

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