The city of Noblesville expects to spend at least $10 million to acquire 80 properties along Pleasant Street for the first phase of its east-west corridor expansion project.
The Noblesville City Council voted unanimously this week to approve a list of 80 parcels between River Road and 11th Street for purchase in the process known as eminent domain.
The first phase of the overall $113 million project is expected to be paid for using funds generated by a $25 wheel tax approved in May, a forthcoming bond issuance, tax increment financing revenues, targeted property tax increases and other sources.
The project has been in the works for years. City engineer Alison Krupski said the city has already contacted all 50 home, business and property owners in the target area and hopes to complete the acquisitions by the end of next May.
The city is planning a wide range of acquisitions. Some owners might be parting with homes or other structures, while others might be losing smaller portions of their property.
“That could mean temporary right-of-way, which means it’s just temporary during construction, that could mean full acquisition or that could mean that we’re just taking a little bit of a portion of that property and leaving them with their home on the remnant of their property,” Krupski said.
Thirty-three of the targeted acquisitions will be for full parcels.
If all goes according to plan, the city plans to put the expansion project out for bid in September 2022 so construction may start in 2023 or 2024.
Although a majority of those targeted properties are residential, various public-facing businesses and churches are on the city’s list, including El Camino Real Noblesville, Firehouse Pizza, Dairy Queen and the Pleasant View Baptist Church.
The $10 million figure is based on a 2019 estimate. Krupski said the current demand-driven real estate market might drive up the total cost.
Krupski said two independent appraisers will evaluate each property before an independent buying agent delivers an offer to the property owner. Then, that property owner has 30 days to accept or reject the offer.
If a property owner does not accept the offer generated by the city’s two appraisals, the process could move to court and the city could initiate a lawsuit to condemn the property. It still would be required to pay an estimate of the property’s market value.
“We’ve had 50-plus meetings with residents in this area just to talk about this,” Krupski said. “We’re definitely giving them the full story of what that process is and what benefits they’re going to have.”
If a property owner does choose to sell, the city has a contracted relocation agent to help interpret state statutes regarding relocation benefits for those who are eligible. Though temporary and partial acquisitions are littered throughout the target area, Krupski said full acquisitions will be concentrated along Pleasant Street, between 8th and 10th streets.