Henry, who leaves office at the end of the month, described eminent domain as a “tool in the toolbox” that won’t necessarily be used for every property acquisition.
The absence of eminent domain procedures has been costly for the city’s stalled, overbudget Oxbo Road project. Roswell overpaid several property owners for parcels of land, according to an independent investigation. Family owners of a hardware story that was located at the corner of the road received a $2.5 million settlement for the permanent sale of their 0.36 acre property. That was in addition to $3 million the city initially paid to take temporary ownership of the parcel.
Oxbo Road has been closed for nearly two years and work stopped on the project in early 2021. Project costs have zoomed past its $9 million budget to almost $14 million.
Given the lengthy road closure, residents on social media are questioning whether the project was necessary.
And during a citizen forum with City Council on Monday, resident Janet Russell, who lives near the road, compared its appearance to the tragic explosion in the Port of Beirut in 2020.
“None of you live near it, see it, or care about it, but every day there is no passable sidewalk, chunks are missing, orange barrels, concrete,” Russell said, of the Oxbo Road scenery.