Dispute over transit center intensifies

FAYETTEVILLE The city has plans to put a new bus transit center in a 2.5 acre block of Robeson Street, with federal funds paying for 80 percent of the cost.

In the plan, city leaders agreed to condemn a building at Franklin and Robeson streets under their eminent domain policy.

"It's heartbreaking that we think we are going to come to downtown put something in it and make it nice and they condemn it," said Jackie Pfendler, the owner of the building in question.

The city owns all of the block expect for Pfendler's building and an auto garage. Both owners have contended that the city isn't offering them a fair price.

At a public forum Monday night, several people spoke out against the city.

"You can't just condemn another man's property if they don't want to sell," resident William Gillis said. "What gives you the right? You don't have the right to steal another man's property."

However, Assistant City Manager Doug Hewitt says the city has used eminent domain to acquire other downtown properties.

"Eminent domain as you remember has been required for various facilities downtown including the police station and Festival Park," Hewitt said.

Jackie Pfendler says she and her husband plan to take the city to court.

"It's not over," she said. "We are going to fight tooth and nail and we are not going to stop."

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