During the public meeting, we announced our intention to implement “condemnation” efforts to acquire the dams. What does it mean?
Condemnation for our purposes is a legal process that gives local, state or federal government agencies the power to take private property for public use, so long as the owner is paid fair compensation. This is also known as eminent domain. On June 9, resolutions passed in Midland and Gladwin counties authorized FLTF to execute and record a Declaration of Taking and declare the taking of property by eminent domain under the applicable statutes of the State of Michigan so we can bring back the lakes.
The best and only use for the property is as lakes! But first, the dams must be repaired and improved. On July 16, the FLTF board approved to begin condemnation proceedings related to the four dams in an effort to acquire them for approximately $800,000 (which includes payments already made to Boyce for purchase and improvements).
“There is no viable scenario where the existing owner or any other private owner can restore the dams and lakes,” said Dave Kepler, chair of FLTF in explaining why the Task Force needs to acquire the dams using this method. “There are huge liabilities and cleanup costs with no real path available to a private operator for federal and state funding.”
FLTF expects to file the paperwork in Midland and Gladwin county circuit courts this week.