Image Credit: Google Earth
By David Seal [Special to The Tennessee Conservative] –
Jefferson City, Tennessee is acting more like New York City or San Francisco than a small southern town with conservative roots.
Its contemplation of using eminent domain to acquire 95 acres of real estate that is owned by, and adjacent to, Tennova Jefferson Memorial Hospital for a recreational park has elevated the blood pressure of property rights activists and the local republican party.
The acquisition by force would be for a non-essential purpose.
Tennova’s 4-Star hospital is situated on a prime track of property that fronts on multiple thoroughfares and serves as one of the largest employers in Jefferson County. It generates an immeasurable economic impact for the county and is constantly expanding services, something Jefferson City would be well-served to encourage, not discourage by taking property that Tennova needs for future expansion.
“Our Tennova Jefferson Memorial Hospital is one of the top hospitals in East Tennessee. We are constantly expanding our quality healthcare services as evidenced by our new cardiac catheterization facility. The surrounding land is needed for future expansion. For Jefferson City to forcefully take this land is not only unethical but immoral as it may deny our citizens future healthcare services.” – John McGraw MD., Chairman of Tennova Jefferson Memorial Hospital Board
Eminent domain (condemnation) storm clouds have been brewing since the city mayor started saber rattling about forceful acquisition of the property.
The Standard-Banner reported on May 25th that Mayor Mitch Cain and others were planning to meet with an “outside attorney” on June 5 to discuss the hospital property taking. Property owners are often bamboozled into selling property under the threat of eminent domain without the condemner having to use it, a nasty way to create the appearance of a voluntary transaction.
When news of this potential property taking reached members of the Jefferson County Republican Party leadership, they immediately made a resolution asking the Jefferson City mayor and city council members to respect the property rights of Tennova and refrain from using eminent domain, or the threat of eminent domain, to acquire property for non-essential purposes.
A copy of the resolution is pictured below.
About the Author: David Seal is a retired Jefferson County educator, recognized artist, local businessman, 917 Society Volunteer, and current Chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party. He has also served Jefferson County as a County Commissioner and is a citizen lobbyist for the people on issues such as eminent domain, property rights, education, and broadband accessibility on the state level.