This letter is in response to Mr. Mumpower's letter of Nov. 9. In it he addresses eminent domain and claims its very existence is contradictory to the Constitution. This opinion stems from the fact Ball State has made moves to acquire property between McKinley and Calvert streets for the construction of the new music building and its supporting parking garage.
Eminent domain is everywhere. No matter what you do, you will make
contact with property acquired through eminent domain. Do you use I-69
to come to Ball State University? Much of that property was acquired through eminent domain. Do you enjoy sports? Many sports arenas are built on ground acquired through eminent domain. Do you like it when roads are widened from 2 lanes to 4? Again, property acquired through eminent domain.
The purpose of eminent domain is simple. It was created to support the greater good of the people at the expense of the few. But unlike many nations that would simply take the lands by force, eminent domain in the
United States provides for appropriate reimbursement of the owner. By
creating such a controversy over these practices, Mr. Mumpower shows his
own selfishness. By building the music building, Ball State will be able to better educate countless new students. By Mr. Mumpower losing his properties, only he loses, and his losses are relative.
Don't let Mr. Mumpower's letter fool you. If he received $115,000 for his property, then that was the appraised value. To give him any less would have been a criminal act. His property was not stolen as he would have you believe, it was appraised and he was given the appropriate value for it. This prevents a landowner form gouging the state (The University) by setting their own excessive value on their property. If his neighbor received a higher value for his property, there a number of reasons this may be so, but that does not change the fact Mr. Mumpower received fair compensation for his property.
I understand Mr. Mumpower's loss. If he believes he is the first person
ever to be faced with eminent domain, he is wrong. But that does not change the fact that the acquisition of his property will benefit the community as a whole. As for his neighbor who doesn't have to move,
that is a tragedy. Ball State has not only the right, but the duty to acquire her property as well to make sure no potential favoritism is shown. Indeed for both of these property owners, these are their homes, and have been for many years, but Ball State has been in its present location for longer than they have been alive. Surely being within 1 block of the Administration building must have stimulated the thought that possibly their property would need to be acquired for expansion.
Ball State and the music building will stand long after we are dead. Its benefit to the community, the student population, and the University as a whole, far outweigh the sacrifices born by the minority. That's what eminent domain is all about, working towards the greater good, not looking out for the selfish interests of a select few.