BOISE, ID—On Monday, the Idaho Freedom Foundation and Boise City Council Member TJ Thomson voiced their collective opposition to the prospect of Boise State University using eminent domain to seize property for the school’s new collegiate baseball stadium.
The Idaho State Board of Education last week granted BSU the right to use of eminent domain to take two properties, including a private learning center’s parking lot and an apartment building.
Thomson, a three-term city council member and BSU graduate, voiced his concerns with the university's plan to take property. Said Thomson:
“I take issue with the use of eminent domain to acquire property for a sporting activity. It’s like landing a sledgehammer on the public process. I believe it is the wrong tool to use in this instance and, from my perspective, lacks the legal merits of meeting the ‘greatest public good.’”
Thomson continued, “All sides involved should come together and find a realistic solution without the use of a mechanism that places multiple low-income renters without a home and a well-established learning center in a position that may force them to eventually close their doors. I full-heartedly support BSU’s efforts to create a baseball program, but the process we use to build such a program should also earn the public’s trust. In this instance, it does not.”
IFF Policy Researcher Phil Haunschild echoed Thomson. Said Haunschild:
“Eminent domain ought to be a tool of last resort for critical public infrastructure, not for the construction of a college baseball stadium. If Boise State University continues to pursue the seizure of a dozen apartments and local church property, it will erode public trust in the university and exacerbate divisive issues in our community today.
“By seizing the two neighboring apartment buildings, Boise State University will force a dozen families out of their homes, further worsening the shortage of affordable housing in the Treasure Valley. By taking the parking lot from a church-operated learning center, Boise State will be pulling the rug out from under their service to the community.”
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