COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) - Columbus leaders have agreed to start the eminent domain process to take 12 properties — two of which are occupied — so the city can move forward with a redevelopment project downtown.
The city wants ten vacant lots and two occupied houses in the Burns Bottom area, and the hope is acquiring them will clear the way for new housing and other projects in the eight blocks surrounded by Second Avenue North, Seventh Avenue North, Fifth Street North and Third Street North.
Mayor Robert Smith and the City Council unanimously decided to proceed with eminent domain on the recommendation of the Columbus Redevelopment Authority.
Authority president John Acker said he did not want to force a takeover of the properties but felt there was no other option after more than four years of trying to buy them.
“It truly saddens me deeply, but in my opinion, this neighborhood has not invested in itself and kept up the properties in a sufficient manner to increase home and property values," said Acker in a city news release.
"The CRA feels that we must press forward through these growing pains while realizing short term discomfort is worth a long term positive solution," Acker added.
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