EMINENT DOMAIN: Judge to inspect Dakota County properties - FOX 35 News Orlando

EMINENT DOMAIN: Judge to inspect Dakota County properties

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The judge considering the land battle that has become a fountain of controversy in Dakota County did not rule in the contentious eminent domain case on Wednesday, instead saying he would inspect the properties himself.

County officials are hoping to develop a regional park that would feature walking and bike trails, bathrooms and picnic areas just outside of Hastings, but there are three property owners who aren't willing to sell the riverfront land the county wants.

"It was Grandpa's dying wish to never have this land taken, to always, always be in the family," Tara Mauch told Fox 9 News.

With a picture of her late grandfather in her hand, Mauch vowed she and her loved ones will never stop fighting for the riverfront homestead that's been in the family for more than 50 years.

"This land means more than the world to our family," she said. "There's no price or amount of money that could possibly be put on this land."

The dispute with Dakota county went to court on Wednesday morning. The county wants the house, the small marina and all of the 10-plus acres the family owns in order to realize their vision of a pristine park along the Mississippi River and give the family fair market compensation in return. No decision was made, however, because the judge determined he would like to inspect the properties himself.

A final decision isn't expected for at least a few weeks, but the issue of a government taking property for the "public need" is drawing national attention. Just this week, the Hastings-area family was on the Fox News channel to discuss their case.

Locally, even residents who are not directly connected to the case are attending the hearings out of concerns that the government might come after their property next.

"The case is frightening," Pam Larkin said. "That's what prompted me to come down."

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