Government to Use Eminent Domain to Seize Land for Flight 93 Memorial

In 9/11 News on May 8, 2009 at 9:45 am

The state government of Pennsylvania is using the power of eminent domain to seize land in Shanksville, the site where United flight 93 crased on September 11, 2001:

The National Park Service has begun the process of eminent domain to acquire land from seven Somerset County property owners and begin construction of the Flight 93 Memorial in time for a Sept. 11, 2011, opening.  “The National Park Service has committed to opening the memorial to the heroes of Flight 93 on the 10th anniversary of their action,” Flight 93 Memorial Superintendent Joanne Hanley said in a news release Thursday. “The NPS, as well as the Families of Flight 93, has been working with landowners since before 2005; but with few exceptions, these negotiations have been unsuccessful. Now, to meet the construction timeline, we must acquire the land by exercising the authority authorized by Congress.”  The memorial was designed to honor the passengers and crew who died Sept. 11, 2001, when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a field in Stonycreek Township. Some of the 40 passengers wrested control of the airplane from terrorists before they could hit a target in Washington.  A final completion date for the $58 million, 2,200-acre permanent memorial and park has not been announced.

Eminent domain allows government seizure of a property for public use, with compensation paid to owners. The eminent domain clause was contained in an appropriations bill that cleared the Senate and the House in 2007.

President Bush had allowed the use of eminent domain in this case in 2002:

According to the Washington Post, President Bush signed legislation in 2002 for a 2,200 acre- national park at the site of the Flight 93 crash. Yet thus far the owner of the crucial 237-acre piece of land, Svonavec Inc., of Somerset, PA has “rejected a $250,000 offer from the Park Service….as well as a $750,000 offer from Families of Flight 93.”

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