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Brown Deer eminent domain case going to trial

A court ruling is forcing Brown Deer officials and residents to go to trial over the use of eminent domain for a $2.3 million streetscape project.

The ruling came from Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Maxine White in response to a court hearing on May 10.

The dispute centers on ownership of the roads the village has targeted for streetscaping. While surveying for the project, the village discovered 51 residents on West River Lane, North Deerwood Drive, West Ruth Place, and North 42nd and 43rd streets had legal ownership of the roads.

The streetscape project includes improvements to the area with new sewer pipes, reconstructed roadways, rebuilt curbs and decorative elements such as new signs, brick paving, sidewalks and stone wall seating.

The village offered each property owner $200 for road ownership. Twelve residents rejected the offer and demanded the village use eminent domain to take the land because the process could lead to greater payouts.

Village Board members on Monday heard White’s decision to present the case to a jury and decided to postpone the streetscape project for a year, said Nate Piotrowski, Brown Deer’s community development director.

Brown Deer requested project bids in January and had identified Green Bay-based Advance Construction Inc. as the low bidder.

The project will be rebid once the village determines when the project can begin, Piotrowski said.

A court date hasn’t been set yet, Piotrowski said, but village officials are hoping to be in the courtroom by September.

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