There’s been considerable discussion, on my Facebook feed at least, about Dover City School District appropriating the Dairy Queen property on N. Tuscarawas Ave. for the purpose of building a new school.
Some of the comments underscore yet again the dumbing down of America and should be a wake-up call to those who determine and plot the civics curriculum in our schools. Obviously, the kids -- who grow up to be intellectually challenged adults, i.e. voters -- aren’t learning basic fundamentals of a democracy.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, eminent domain – the process by which Dover City School District acquired properties needed for its project – “has been utilized traditionally to facilitate transportation, supply water, construct public buildings, and aid in defense readiness.
“Early federal cases condemned property for construction of public buildings (e.g., Kohl v. United States) and aqueducts to provide cities with drinking water (e.g., United States v. Great Falls Manufacturing Company, 112 U.S. 645 (1884), supplying water to Washington, D.C.), for maintenance of navigable waters (e.g., United States v. Chandler-Dunbar Co., 229 U.S. 53 (1913), acquiring land north of St. Mary’s Falls canal in Michigan), and for the production of war materials (e.g. Sharp v. United States, 191 U.S. 341 (1903)).”
The DOJ continues: “The Land Acquisition Section and its earlier iterations represented the United States in these cases, thereby playing a central role in early United States infrastructure projects.”
In other words, without eminent domain U.S. citizens would encounter a far less-than-desirable infrastructure and probably would still be driving their cars on dirt roads. In our case, there’d be no flood control in place, which would leave a significant portion of our “settlement” under water on a regular basis.
Without eminent domain, we wouldn’t have our lakes, four-lane highways (two-lane for that matter), or much of our public park land. President Ike Eisenhower’s vision was an interstate highway system that not only could transport people and goods expeditiously but also to provide another cog in our defense system.
If necessary, our interstate highway system not only can provide unobstructed routes so troops and equipment can be moved quickly but also runways for F-18s. The federal government didn’t ask for properties to build our interstate highway system. It appropriated them through eminent domain.
The kicker to the process is that the government must fairly compensate the owner of such acquired property for its value. That’s the law. And it’s followed.
As for Dover, it proceeded with a plan to build a new school – and, yes, we need a new school to replace the old dump -- in the same area as the old one based on what citizens told it to do.
(I personally would have preferred a land swap with the city so that the new high school and current middle school could create a campus that would have allowed younger students easy access to modern educational advancements afforded in a new facility. That idea didn’t get very far. We love our tennis courts.)
In addition, the owner of that Dairy Queen property assured the Dover Board of Education that his family would work with the district, according to board members, if voters approved the project. Apparently there was some mind-changing going on.
Rest assured, dear underdog-loving citizens, the owners of the Dairy Queen will be fairly compensated for their decades-old building and the land it sits on (although I’m sure not for what they believe is their restaurant’s “blue sky” value.)
Meanwhile, Dover gets a brand new school and the public good is served again. And I’ll bet that a new Dairy Queen will spring up some place.
Funny how things work out.