Homeowner wins battle against City Hall - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Homeowner wins battle against City Hall

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A Murfreesboro man is claiming victory, at least for now, after city officials wanted to build a new greenway on his property. Officials wanted to take his land, and turn his custom, hand-built home into a park office.

It's a home David McCurry, of Barfield Road in Rutherford County, built with his own two hands, plank by plank, and stone by stone.

"This is like having the only beach house in the entire county," McCurry said.

The one-of-a-kind home is made out of red wood from top to bottom; it's a home like none other and sits next to the Stones River.

"It's turned backwards from the streets; you look at the river not at the street when you're at the front door," McCurry said.

Seven years ago Murfreesboro city officials moved to take his home and property for a greenway expansion, park office, and parking lot.

"Greenways are a good thing, but we have to do them with good common sense," McCurry said.

McCurry's property is in the county, but since it lies in the path of the city's Urban Growth Plan, city officials used eminent domain to try and take it.

"I'm in favor of progress, and I really enjoy the greenway system, at the same time I don't want to displace someone out of their home," said City Councilman Eddie Smotherman.

The property will not be the only one affected by this proposed greenway expansion, that's why citizens have formed the North Murfreesboro Alliance, hoping to stop the city from forcing folks out of their homes using the power of eminent domain.

Smotherman said he couldn't just sit by and let someone lose their home.

"It's a situation where the McCurrys had lost hope, and I'm delighted that I was able to step in and give them hope. We need to do what was right, not only for the city, but the property owner as well," Smotherman said.

The City Council voted in June not to fund McCurry's relocation expenses, which put the condemnation on hold.

"We were three weeks away from losing the deed to the property," McCurry said. "The situation is not over; I'm just on a delay."

An alternate plan is now in the works to locate the greenway expansion on the other side of the Stone's River from McCurry's home.

Surveyors are already collecting data. Nov. 22 is a crucial day for the McCurry family. That's when a condemnation hearing is scheduled. 

McCurry is hoping to get an abandonment of condemnation at that hearing.

"If they come back and say this is just not suitable to put the greenway on the other side of the river, we have to do it on your side of the river, then I will have to lose the property," he said.

McCurry said he was given a firm offer for his property, but he said it was a low-ball offering, and said, you can't put a price on a house as unique as his.

Smotherman feels he has the support of his colleagues which will allow the family to keep their home.  

Assistant City Attorney David Ives said he could find out as soon as next week if the alternate greenway expansion location is feasible.

Ives said, if not, the city would then, and only then, move forward with the condemnation of McCurry's property.

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