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LAWSUITS NEWS & LEGAL INFORMATION

Condemned School Land

Bartow, FL: (Sep-26-07) The Lakeland School District reached a settlement with retired teacher Patricia Martin, opening the doors of Lakeland's Highland Grove Elementary School. The Polk County School Board voted to settle a condemnation lawsuit stemming from the purchase of that land on Lakeland Highlands Road, just south of the Polk Parkway, for $2.5 million. The district sought to buy the 23-acre site in 2005, but couldn't come to an agreement on price with the owner, retired teacher Patricia Martin. District administrators, under pressure to get the school built, filed a lawsuit against Martin seeking to condemn the land. The Martins bought their land along Lakeland Highlands Road in about 1947, when that area was still pastureland and citrus groves. In the past three decades, as houses and stores popped up around them, the Martins stayed put. So when the School Board began looking for property, the Martins had one of the few sites large enough for the school. Sources stated that Martin owned 36 acres along the east side of Lakeland Highlands Road, leaving her with nearly 13 acres after the School Board took its portion. Reports show that the district took control of the land in 2005, when the condemnation action was filed. At the same time, the School Board set aside $1.5 million with the court, which in turn dispersed it to Martin, now a widow, in partial payment for the land. [THE LEDGER: SCHOOL LAND]


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Published on Sep-27-07


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