Official: Tract of land won't be taken by eminent domain

August 14, 2002|BY ANDREA ROWLAND

WILLIAMSPORT - The U.S. Department of the Interior has made it a priority to buy a parcel of Williamsport-owned property on a "willing seller-willing buyer" basis, Bill Spinrad, land resources specialist for the National Park Service, said Tuesday.

The Park Service has no intention of acquiring the one-third acre plot north of Riverbottom Park through its power of eminent domain, Spinrad said.

"We want to be good neighbors," he said.

Town officials on Monday briefly discussed the federal government's power to condemn the land before buying it for fair market value after Town Clerk Bonnie Errico read a letter outlining the town-owned property's importance in the Park Service's draft five-year land protection plan.


The U.S. Department of the Interior recently sent such "courtesy letters" to Williamsport and about a dozen other "priority tract" landowners along the C&O Canal, Spinrad said.

He said Park Service officials want to meet with the landowners to discuss the importance of selling the properties to the government.

Doug Faris, superintendent of the C&O Canal National Historic Park, last August asked the Williamsport Town Council to consider selling the parcel for use primarily as a paved parking lot.

He said the property's current use as a storage area doesn't mesh with the Park Service's long-term plans to create a Williamsport Interpretive Complex.

Council members in September 2001 rejected the request, saying the property was needed to store the town's maintenance equipment.

Faris was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

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