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CHUGGING ALONG: State takes land for train station by eminent domain

Posted 5/21/13

You might say the train is finally leaving the station – but it’s not moving as quickly as some had hoped.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has filed legal paperwork in Dauphin County Court to acquire land for its new Middletown …

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CHUGGING ALONG: State takes land for train station by eminent domain

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PennDOT announced plans in 2010 to construct a new station at the Westporte Centre on West Main Street near Middletown’s west entrance. Property owner James Nardo had pledged to bring new businesses to the retail complex to complement the station, sparking hopes of economic revitalization for Middletown’s west end.

Long delays in the project have led to some speculation about its future. But the project is moving forward now that property for the station has been acquired, said Erin Waters-Trasatt, a PennDOT spokeswoman.

“The next step, in our minds, would be moving onto final designs,” she said.

PennDOT decided to acquire the property through eminent domain after negotiations with Nardo stalled, according to Waters-Trasatt.

“We couldn’t reach an agreed upon sales amount with the owner,” she said. “We [now] have the legal title to the property … and we, associated with that, have offered $1.817 million in just compensation.”

Nardo, who has 30 days to challenge to the eminent domain claim, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

The project has been delayed from its original target completion date of late 2013.  PennDOT is expecting to begin construction in about two years, and plans to complete the project within four years, Waters-Trasatt said.

Daniel Walmer: 717-944-4628, or danielwalmer@pressandjournal.com