City in Kentucky using eminent domain to obtain property where convalescent home stands

U.S. and World

RUSSELL, KY (WOWK) – The city of Russell, Kentucky says it’s using eminent domain powers to take private property for a downtown renovation project.

This has been a tough week for the owners and residents at the Russell Convalescent Home. The city announced it’s using eminent domain to obtain the property forcing residents of the home to move elsewhere.

The facility sits across from the city building and has been in current owner Teresa Baumgartner’s family for more than 50 years.

When the city first discussed using eminent domain to obtain the property, the home’s employees and residents say they were caught off guard. Resident Dalton Lovell says he doesn’t want the residents to “split apart.”

One of the home employees Dreama Hedge says inside the facility, residents are treated like family.

Our motto is ‘close to home’ and these people are our home. This is their home and we’re their family.

Dreama Hedge, employee

Now, the city has decided to move forward with the decision. The city released a statement saying “The owners will be paid fair market value for the property” and they are trying to find the money “…to develop a beautiful riverfront park in (the) historic downtown.”

Once obtained, the convalescent home property will be used for added green space and parking.

Baumgardner says she’s not speaking on the city’s decision because she knows why it was made. She says her main goal now is a simple one.

My heart is with Russell, but all I want to do is keep my residents together.

Teresa Baumgardner, Russell Convalescent Home administrator

Baumgardner says right now she is looking for other locations to move their services to. A protest and hot dog social is scheduled for Saturday around 10 a.m. on the property.

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