Hadley Township Redevelopment Has Been a Disaster
If you want an example of the terrible effects of eminent domain, you don’t need to look any further than Hadley Township in Richmond Heights. It was covered as part of Tim Lee’s study of eminent domain abuse for the Show-Me Institute. It is even more than just a horrible example of eminent domain abuse, though — it is the ultimate example of why local government should not get into the redevelopment business in the first place. While nobody has yet been put out of their homes, an entire neighborhood is suffering greatly from the combination of a city wanting to redevelop its community, the threat of eminent domain hanging over the heads of residents (some of whom have, admittedly, always wanted to sell), and the recent failures of the development proposal stemming from the credit crisis.
None of this had to happen. If the city has stayed out, involving itself only in the potential rezoning, the developer would have made offers to the residents. If he had made a good enough offer, likely all would have sold. And if someone decided not to sell their property and the development died as a result, then so be it. As for the business knowledge of local officials, how about this quote from one of the councilmembers in the Post-Dispatch article:
But Councilwoman Gina Mitten was disappointed.
“A $200 million project — and the developer can’t come up with another $72,000?” said an exasperated Mitten.
Yes, that is exactly how business is done. You come up with a business plan and then you just have as much money waiting on the side as the government wants you to hand over. (This post should not be taken, in any way, as defending the developer. …)