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Can Chippewa Falls Forcibly Buy Property?

Written By: Editorial  |  Posted: Friday, May 4th, 2012

The abuse of eminent domain is being used by the City of Chippewa Falls.   In order to build a permanent farmers market, the city council will forcibly take property on the corner of Bridge Street and River Street.

Last Tuesday, the city council voted to start implementing its plan to revitalize the downtown area.  Part of the plan is to build a public square at the above intersection.  Standing in the way is the fact that the property isn't theirs to develop.  So they will take it - giving the owners just compensation.  There are more properties that the City plans on taking on the other side of River Street in order to build a park.

It can be debated as to why our founding fathers in the Fifth Amendment allowed the governments to take people's property for public use.  Surely it wasn't in order to build parks and farmers markets, no matter how much they will beautify or improve an area.  In fact, for some people, there is nothing uglier than the mighty hand of the government forcing someone off of their property because of some city planner's dream.

Are the owners of these properties in favor of such actions?  I don't know, and frankly, it doesn't matter.  Using eminent domain to take someone's property shows that even in the local realm, our rights are disregarded by those ordained to protect them.

If you love the look of riverside parks with farmers markets, music events, and picnic grounds - and if you want one at the corner of Bridge Street and River Street - then come up with a price high enough to make the property owners willing to sell.  Then go buy it yourself.  It is oppressive to use the government to force the taking of someone's God-given property rights.

No power on earth has a right to take our property from us without our consent. - John Jay, First Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court and co-author of The Federalist Papers, "Address to the People of Great Britain," October 1774

Now what liberty can there be where property is taken away without consent? - Samuel Adams, The Rights of the Colonists, The Report of the Committee of Correspondence to the Boston Town Meeting, November 20, 1772

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