Trinty River Vision Authority Votes to Seize Private Property

“You’ve got to go. You’ve got to sell to us. Eminent Domain.”  This is how Bob Lukeman, owner of a small business in Fort Worth, Texas who is soon to be thrown off his land, recounts the treatment he has received from his local government.  “You have no idea how insidious [this] is and how horrible it feels,” he laments.  “You know, all the plans we’ve made seem to be in direct conflict with all the plans that they’ve made [for us].” [1]

Local police officer and former serviceman in the US Army Gary Bucy shares Lukeman’s disgust: “[This] is an abuse of eminent domain.”  He continues, “If you look historically at the use of eminent domain it’s been used to build highways, schools, hospitals, things that the public can use.  [But] with the Trinity River Vision we’re seeing private property development coming in [and] things that benefit special interests.” [2]

They are not alone in their outrage.  Groups such as Citizens Who Care, the Trinity River Improvement Partnership, and 912 Project Fort Worth have rallied against the current scheme, protesting the government’s reprehensible abuse of its power of eminent domain and the project’s ever-escalating price tag, which currently stands in excess of $900 million.

While for these citizens this situation constitutes an appalling exploitation of government authority, there appears to be little opposition in the political arena.  On June 18, Fort Worth will hold a run-off election between candidates Betsy Price and Jim Lane for mayor, and neither candidate has expressed any misgivings regarding the project.  Moreover, on June 2 the Trinity River Vision Authority board recommended the seizing of five parcels of land to the Tarrant Regional Water District where the issue is expected to be taken up on June 21. The five parcels of land are as follows:

(1)    6.875 acres, owner the MMM Group Llc.
(2)    5.005 acres, owner the Louise McKinley Trust
(3)    0.688 acre, owner the J.W. Pierce Family L.P.
(4)    0.55 acre, owner Red Bird Highland Ltd
(5)    0.5739 acre, owner Taos Holdings.

[1] Up A Creek. Trinity River Improvement Partnership, 2011. Documentary.
[2] ibid.