City wrapping up land deals for Blacksnake Creek project

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city of st joseph seal logoThe St. Joseph City Council on Monday voted to exercise eminent domain for the final two tracts of real estate needed for construction of the Blacksnake Creek Stormwater Separation Improvement Project. But officials say settlement efforts continue, with only one case apparently heading to litigation.

The two tracts, at 3801 N. 18th St. and 4133 St. Joseph Ave., are the last of 26 being bought by the city for the project.

City manager Bruce Woody told the council one of the property owners reached agreement with the city on Monday. The other landowner has been in contact and is expected to meet with city staff soon.

The $63 million project will include a conveyance tunnel to carry stormwater from Blacksnake Creek to the Missouri River. It’s part of a mandate from the federal government, with the goal of reducing sewer overflows into the Missouri River.

In other action Monday, the council heard a first reading on a bill to accept easements and warranty deeds from 13 of the project properties with a total pricetag of nearly $300,000. Those deals were negotiated without eminent domain.

Woody said they should wrap up the land purchases about $280,000 under the $850,000 budgeted for real estate.