Owners, City Dispute About Property
By: CJ Cassidy
By: CJ Cassidy
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - It started off as a road construction project meant to increase business traffic.
Orange barrels blocked parts of Broadway, during its expansion in February and March this year.
Both Hardee's Restaurant and Global Trading closed temporarily during the construction, and neither of them re-opened.
Construction's no longer an issue.
Now the owners of Global Trading say they simply can't afford to run their business with customer parking limited to the street.
But, city leaders say they've tried their best to be fair, and now it's up to the courts to decide what happens next.
"I think they've treated us unfairly," said Jerel Lichtenegger of his dispute with Cape Girardeau city leaders.
He shut down Global Trading temporarily while the city expanded Broadway Street.
But now, Lichtenegger doesn't know if he'll open up shop again.
"What really proves how they treated me was, how they've taken the Broadway entrance and put an eight inch curve and a sidewalk in front of my business," he said.
Lichtenegger says initially, city leaders offered him $88,000 for his building and property.
"We thought you can't do anything with $88,000, so we asked if we could stay," he said.
Lichtenegger explains he wanted to stay put because his store caters to international students at Southeast Missouri State, just down the road.
City Planner Martha Brown says she understood.
"So the city went back and revised their plan so we could leave the structure for them. Then we would just take 27 feet, and the Lichteneggers knew at the time there wasn't a lot of room in front," Brown said.
She also says a special court appointed group of commissioners already awarded the Lichteneggers more than $74,000 for the 2100 square feet they needed to expand Broadway. And, she says work crews blocked off the entrance, to prevent traffic hazards with trucks pulling out onto the busy street.
"The city worked very hard with the Lichteneggers, trying to resolve the issue. We did the best we could for their property," she said.
"We'll wait for this to go before a jury. Hopefully, we'll get some parking," Jerel Lichtenegger said.
City leaders say the jury will not award any parking spots; they will simply figure out if the money awarded to Lichtenegger for his property is fair.