Livelihoods upended by eminent domain suits

WASHINGTONVILLE — The West Pine Lake Drive farm Mike Cameron’s family has owned for at least five generations could be split in half by the Mill Creek MetroParks.

Cameron and his wife Barbara face one of nearly a dozen eminent domain lawsuits the park district has filed since November in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to acquire perpetual easements to lay 4 1⁄2 miles of public bike path, part of a greater green way trail connecting Lake Erie to the Ohio River across four counties.

A 6-acre-long proposed route would bisect the Camerons’ 158 acres from north to south, putting it about the distance of a football field away from their home. The public trail would separate the Camerons’ beef cows from their water source just over an eastward hill and keep the Camerons’ relatives from hunting deer, turkey and sometimes pheasant on their land.

“We need to get over there because we have property that we farm – a combine needs to go over there,” Barbara said.

Barbara said strangers don’t end up at their farmhouse unless they’re lost. From their home at the far terminus of a dead-end road, one can see wild, rolling pastures disappear into the wood line but not a single other house.

“That’s the way we like it. We don’t want anyone to know we’re back here,” Barbara said.

For the complete story, read Sunday's Vindicator and

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