UPDATE: Hiatt Printing responds to BSU dropping eminent domain

The Daily News

Ball State called off plans to use eminent domain to claim the property of a local business, a decision that took the business owner by surprise. 

In an email to the Daily News on Thursday associate vice president of marketing and communications Tony Proudfoot said the plan to move forward with McKinley Commons by taking Hiatt Printing through eminent domain had been deferred. 

“The Ball State trustees and administration believe strongly that the project would be of great benefit to our students and the university community,” Proudfoot said. “We will step back and consider our options for best achieving the goals of the project in a different location or turn to other strategic priorities.”

Hiatt Printing owner Chris Hiatt was not expecting the announcement.

“I don’t know whether [my litigation appeal] effort made Ball State nervous, I have no idea. Somewhere down the line they decided this wasn’t the path they wanted to see Ball State follow,” Hiatt said. “I appreciate that, it allows me to continue to be in business and serve the Ball State community.”

The proposed McKinley Commons development, located at the corner of McKinley and University avenues, would have included a living-learning community for hospitality and food management students with a hotel and restaurants to serve as an immersive learning lab. 

Ball State had acquired the other necessary properties in the area and, in a press release on April 25, said the plans for the development were in the “final stages.” 

The decision to defer ended the ongoing litigation over the use of eminent domain. A Delaware county court had ordered the appraisal of Hiatt Printing at $375,000 and Hiatt allegedly requested $1.3 million. 

Proudfoot said the gap could not be reconciled and it is best for the university to stop the eminent domain proceedings. It is too early to say whether or not the plans for McKinley Commons will be shelved or carried out in a new location, he said. 

“The board has always been sensitive to the use of eminent domain and hoped to reach a reasonable settlement with the property owner. The trustees had hoped that the appraisal would help inform the negotiations,” Proudfoot said.

Hiatt did not only contest Ball State’s offer under eminent domain, but also the university’s right under Indiana law to the privilege itself. He plans to use his experience to influence legislators to change the law. 

“Ball State, as any other subsidized university, shouldn’t have the capacity to condemn and seize private property,” Hiatt said. “There’s a defect in Indiana that needs to be addressed. I hope this experience shows why the law needs to be changed.”



More from The Daily

Loading Recent Classifieds...