For decades, several private acres in southeast Decatur were always considered an unofficial extension of Dearborn park. The city expressed interest in buying the land whenever it went up for sale to make it an official piece of the park, but a fast moving developer beat them to it.

This is how Dearborn Park could have begun to appear:

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Kudzu Capital threatened to cut down the trees and turn the land into homes, very much against the wishes of the city and people who live in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Unable to come to an agreement, the city voted Monday night to force a sale with eminent domain. But some at the meeting suggested the city played right into the developer’s hand, and that his threat to build houses was just a bluff.

After the decision, the developer tried to leave without speaking with us.

CBS46 caught up with Neal Hightower at the door and asked him if an eminent domain sale was his plan the entire time.

Hightower said, “I don’t have a comment about that.”

A court will decide how much the city will pay at a later date, but the sale is going through no matter what.

Most of the people at the meeting less interested in whether Hightower masterminded a plot and mostly just relieved that Dearborn Park’s current layout will remain undisturbed.

Read more: http://www.cbs46.com/story/36778719/eminent-domain-order-saves-decaturs-dearborn-park-from-development#ixzz4xkqnEMPr