Couple fights Fitzgerald's eminent domain request - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Couple fights Fitzgerald's eminent domain request

By Delivrine Registre - bio | email

FITZGERALD, GA (WALB) - This land has been in Rachael Strickland Bishop's family for 92 years. And she hopes one day to pass it down to her son and daughter some day. But the City of Fitzgerald has other plans.

They are currently trying to take 111 acres with 95 of those acres being in Irwin county. " This is the fourth time that we have given up land for the airport, and we are wondering when enough is enough,"  said Zeke Bishop.

Right now the Bishops have planted pine trees on the property which is the couples only revenue source besides social security. "We can't figure out what they want with this much property. The other times it was for the extension of the runway" said Bishop.

But the Bishops say they already have taken enough land from them to do that. Now the City is offering them about $2,200 per acre. "It's worth more than that. There are developments on both sides of the land," said Bishop.

There are also massive Georgia Power Lines on the property. But the city never made it clear to the Bishops or their lawyer what exactly will be done with the land. "They have told us only that the land might be used for future use, and I don't know what they have in mind," said Rachael Bishop.

The Irwin County commission unanimously denied the city's request to acquire the land through condemnation action for improvements. "We are kind of on hold. We don't know what is going to happen next," said Bishop.

But the Bishops say this whole situation has been unfair. "I hate to use the word steal, but they are using our tax dollars to steal our land. What country are we living in to do this? 

There needs to be more amendments added to imminent domain, but until then you are on your own." And the Bishops say they will fight to the very end to keep their property.

After several attempts no one from the City of Fitzgerald's government was available for comment. We were told Fitzgerald City administrator, Henry Tyson is out of town until Friday. And Gerald Thompson, the mayor of Fitzgerald, never returned any of our phone calls.

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