Pittsfield Residents Vote Against Eminent Domain
On June 10, 2001, the Pittsfield City Council voted to create a private “civic authority” in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, for the purpose of building a new baseball stadium to attract and keep a minor league baseball team. The authority would own and operate the stadium, and it would have the power of eminent domain.
Many residents feared the prospect of eminent domain. Anne Leaf and others lived near the location that the City had proposed for the stadium and feared their homes could be taken for parking or other stadium uses.1 One City councilor, after a 24-hour protest against the stadium, explained, “I support these people. I don’t think eminent domain is a good thing.”2 The residents took action and gathered 5,200 signatures, about 18 percent of City voters, to force a referendum on the decision. On June 5, 2001, the citizens of Pittsfield voted against the creation of the authority and its eminent domain power.3
1 “Councilors Vote to Create Stadium Authority,” AP Wire, Jan. 11, 2001
2 “Bleary-eyed City Councilor Ends Vigil,” AP Wire, May 27, 2001.
3 “Financially Strapped City Votes No on New Baseball Stadium,” AP Wire, June 5, 2001.