The practice of eminent domain makes me cringe, but in light of safety issues involving a particular intersection in the town of Walworth, it seems appropriate.
For the sake of safety improvements and a much-needed road upgrade, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is considering the acquisition of several buildings at the intersection of Highways 14 and 67.
Two options exist: Option A is to purchase the Antique Mall property (former Waal’s Department Store, 101 Beloit St.); or Option B is the acquisition of several other businesses opposite the mall. Those include Top Dog Grooming, King Dragon, The Buzz Hair Design, Sweeny’s Pub, Siemer’s Cruise Inn and the canopy at the BP gas station.
Village President Todd Watters is concerned that the state is buying thriving businesses in the town’s square. However, the road improvement project calls for the demolition of buildings at this intersection, which has the highest crash rate along the whole project stretch. The work will revamp Highway 14 from Highway 11 to State Line Road.
The total budget for the project is about $10 million.
Loss of business or not, a potential loss of life takes center stage here. The project engineering work is being done by Crispell-Snyder Inc., Lake Geneva.
WisDOT is presently studying the two options, and should make a decision within six to nine months.
Keith Barber is a data reporter at The Daily Reporter. He took over this blog by eminent domain.