The Alabama Department of Transportation is following up on condemnations with cash for property owners as the state continues to acquire land for a controversial road and bridge project in south Baldwin County.
“The money was held up for a period of time for reasons I don’t know,” attorney Warren Herlong said. “But now the money is flowing. And there are substantial monies flowing.”
According to documents filed with the Baldwin County Probate Court, the state offered nearly $12 million for 10 of 21 tracts the state says it needs to build the project. Plans call for a flyover bridge off of the Foley Beach Express just south of County Road 8 to start a roadway through the condemned properties, culminating with a bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway just east of the Gulf Shores airport.
This project has stirred up controversy at both ends, with residents saying they were not informed about several aspects of the project. And state officials have admitted they have not done thorough studies to warrant a third bridge to the island. On the north side Craft Farms residents are worrying about noise from a 29-foot bridge a half-mile from their neighborhood.
Herlong is representing six clients in the condemnation process for the $87 million project.
“Your review of the court of records will show you the kinds of offers that have been made,” Herlong said. “In my cases there’s some $6 million in offers. Those monies have been released and paid intothe court.”
The largest offering among his clients is for tract 13 for $3.8 million and involves owners Laura Almaroad, Wanda Dickman and Joy Sprunger. Others include Doyce and Shirley Ellenberg, who were offered $1.2 million for 21.25 acres; the Williams Joseph Evans Revocable Trust, which was offered $737,150 for 3.09 acres; Orlanda B. Clark-Perrault and Robert T. Perrault, who were offered $450,000 for 3.06 acres; the George Wallace family, which was offered $374,300 for 20.38 acres; and Anthony and Patricia Diliberto, who were offered $405,000 for 8.38 acres.
“These are significant takings with significant offers,” Herlong said. “Right off the top of my head I can think of $10 million in offers.”
Among the biggest of the remaining cases is an offer for to the owners of Pandion Ridge, who own land on the south side of the Intracoastal Waterway. ALDOT initially offered them $3.7 million for 49.75 acres. On the north side of the waterway where the bridge footing is planned the state offered Coastal Resort Properties of North Carolina $943,150 for 29 acres. Attorney Richard Davis of Daphne is representing those two property owners. Both cases are being heard in the Baldwin County Circuit Court.
Others include Darrell Tidwell of Gulf Shores, who was offered $175,900 for 6.69 acres; Marvin Ray and Kathleen Peed, who were offered $70,000 for four acres; and the Baldwin County Bridge Co. was offered $9,750 for .13 acres.