The Lick Run Project in Cincinnati

Lick Run Project

Cincinnati’s proposed Daylighting of Lick Run is a 122 million dollar sewer project designed to reduce water pollution.  Lick Run is a centuries-old creek that was channeled into a sewer pipe in 1910.  The process of daylighting an urban creek such as Lick Run involves bringing the buried creek to the surface with man-made landscaping features that prevent erosion and flooding.

Photo Courtesy of MSD

Photo Courtesy of MSD

The existing 19-foot sewer pipe currently drains water and sewage from a 2,800 acre area on Cincinnati’s West Side and has been under capacity for years, effectively allowing 1.7 billion gallons of dirty water to be deposited into Mill Creek annually.  Because of the extent of sewage overflow, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) to fix the problem with a $244 million underground storage tunnel.

As a cheaper alternative, MSD has instead proposed Daylighting Lick Run, which will require the acquisition and removal of all buildings located in a six-block area between White Street, Queen City Avenue, Westwood Avenue and the Western Hills Viaduct.  Replacing these 40 acres of existing businesses would be an underground storm-sewer pipe with a rebuilt creek above it.  This project would effectively decrease the amount of sewage spilling into Mill Creek by 800 million gallons annually.

In order to move forward with this project, the MSD will need to acquire all properties within the 40 acre project footprint and relocate the existing businesses.  Because MSD is a public utility company, they will have eminent domain authority if negotiations with landowners cannot be reached.   Offers are currently being made to owners in the area, but MSD has not resorted to eminent domain quite yet.  Instead, they’re attempting to strike deals with willing sellers first, and will then use eminent domain if necessary to acquire the remaining land.

It’s important for property owners affected by this project to know that they do not need to settle for less than what they are entitled to receive.  Under the rules of eminent domain law, property owners are entitled to receive just compensation, and oftentimes a property owner will only receive just compensation by allowing condemnation to occur.  In condemnation an owner can show that the rules for highest and best use will produce a higher price than the amount offered by the government.  Remember, MSD is like any other buyer; they will first attempt to buy property as cheaply as they can.

Before settling in this manner, make sure you contact an eminent domain attorney for a free case evaluation and learn more about eminent domain or specific information regarding Ohio eminent domain.

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