- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 25, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The city of Des Moines has initiated eminent domain proceedings for nearly 60 properties as it moves ahead with plans to build a $70 million municipal services center and vacate sought-after land near downtown.

The move means demolition of a church, a smattering of abandoned houses and a recently renovated used car and salvaged auto parts lot, The Des Moines Register (https://dmreg.co/2q2xFOO ) reported.

The city’s Public Works Department currently is located along four blocks in the up-and-coming Market District. City leaders say they’re anxious to move the department’s assortment of vehicles and equipment to make way for business development in the growing area.

“We have plenty of private developers interested,” said Matt Anderson, assistant city manager, during a meeting last month.

King of Kings Missionary Baptist Church’s the Rev. Jordan P. Rabon and treasurer Jamel Kirby say they fear their congregation will leave if the city uses eminent domain to take the church’s property.

“God-fearing people are going to go to church on Sunday, and if we’re not here, they’re going to go somewhere else,” Kirby said.

Construction on the new public works facility could begin as early as this year, but it depends on how willing and ready property owners are to vacate.

“Eminent domain can take months if not a full year because there’s plenty of protections for the property owners - rightfully so - under state law,” said Scott Sanders, city manager.

Sanders said the city would like to acquire the land as soon as possible so the first phase of construction can begin. City plans indicate construction would be finished by 2020.


Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com

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