Battling Over Eminent Domain in Blackwater
"I put my garden in here," explained Ben Simmons. "That's my garden, and I own it."
Now, Simmons complained, the town of Blackwater wants to use eminent domain to take his and other land for a park.
"The location was a pretty obvious choice," Blackwater mayor Bobby Danner countered. "There's not many places in town with enough land that's undeveloped in one spot, and the location we're looking at is close to downtown."
Some residents say the town needs the park.
"We've got a lot of kids in this town and, especially in the summer, they ride bikes and they need stuff to do," said resident Paula Danner. "This town was not a town, people lived here, but there was none of this, there were no shops, no restaurants, no hotel. There was nothing here."
Blackwater has big plans for this part of town. It's already bought land and plans to tear down an RV park just down the street from Ben Simmons' house.
The city offered Simmons $500 dollars for the land. But, he's staying there.
"I'm going to stand up for what I believe in," he argued. "Right's right and wrong's wrong."
Three other property owners also refuse to sell their land. Mayor Danner says the town won't take any homes as part of the plan and will use the land only for public space, not for private development.