New Lake Freeway Moves Ahead
Construction will start next year if MoDOT can buy the land from the owners, although some don't want to sell.
Jim Kahrs and his Sycamore Creek Golf Club are facing a possible freeway on their fairway. MoDOT wants to build the U.S. 54 Expressway over Kahrs' property, but he says no one asked him if he's willing to sell.
"We certainly haven't agreed to the program, and we're waiting for word from them as to what they intend to do," said Kahrs. "It's a really tragic situation as far as our family is concerned."
Kahrs says he's not against progress in the area, but he views the situation as a slippery slope in a game of inches.
Kahrs says MoDOT first approached him about the project in 1995 and asked him to develop his property according to its plans. Kahrs says he did that. Now, he says, MoDOT's plan calls for a different layout. Kahrs would have to alter his golf course, including lowering two tee-blocks, which can be expensive.
And, if Kahrs refuses to sell, MoDOT says it may use eminent domain to take the land.
"You know, sometimes the difference between our appraisal and what the property owner thinks the value is, is just so significant that we can't reach a settlement," said Roger Schwartze of MoDOT. "And that is what eminent domain is for, and that is really the only time we use it."
If Kahrs sells the land, he says he'll still have to worry about more water runoff from the development.
The U.S. 54 Expressway will cost $158 million. The project will have two phases, the first in 2009 and the other in 2010.