Edgerton’s new sewer plant is on the way now that the city officially owns the land it needed for the project..
The Edgerton City Council last week approved a $196,000 payment to Johnson County Parks and Recreation for purchase of property for the new sewer plant.
The 15 acres was formerly a portion of Big Bull Creek Regional Park, which the county conned voters into paying for in 1988.
However, the 2,000 acres of land has yet to be developed.
Residents who have been paying taxes on the park for 13 years are not even able to step foot on it.
They would likely be arrested for trespassing.
Edgerton was locked into a battle with the county for several weeks about what the fair market value of the property was, and the Park Board required the city to pay $100 per day until court proceedings were complete.
The city pursued eminent domain, and a judge appointed an appraiser who set the price at about $1,306 per acre.
Regardless of fair market value, and how much the land may have appreciated since 1988, it is a shame that Edgerton residents have to pay for that land twice. The same is true for Gardner.
Area residents paid for the land once during the 1998 countywide bond issue, and they are paying for it again now. The two cities joined together to build the plant and will share in the cost.
It seems like a better, more equitable deal could have been hashed out, especially seeing as the county parks and recreation department apparently don’t care for the land, as the master plan they sold voters on has gathered dust on a shelf somewhere.
There’s a name for what the Park Board did, it’s called land speculation.
The honorable thing to do would be to use the $196,000 and develop walking trails, a camp site or parking area so residents can use Big Bull Creek.
To do otherwise is just shameless profiteering.