(Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 11:39 AM
BATON ROUGE — Some residents who live in an area where Fort Polk wants to expand are uneasy over the possibility they could be forced to move from homes where they were born, according to Rep. James Armes, D-Leesville.
Fort Polk is purchasing 100,000 acres to double the size of the post. And 67 homes on Peason Ridge are affected.
Promises that eminent domain wouldn’t be used to take acquire property are now in doubt, Armes said. That is the process that allows government to take personal property for public use with just compensation.
Fort Polk commanders have said one thing, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is saying something else, Armes said.
The American Press reported in March 2009 that some of the residents of the areas in question were members of families whose land was taken by eminent domain in 1941 for the expansion of Camp Polk. It left some deep scars in that community.
Brig. Gen. James C. Yarbrough, commander of the Joint Readiness Training Center at the time, told residents at a 2009 meeting that eminent domain wouldn’t be used to take their property.
“We’ll do business with willing folks,” Yarbrough said. “If you don’t like it, you make a counteroffer and it’s a deal or no deal. If someone doesn’t want to sell, the Army will have to rework its plan.”
Armes said those same residents now believe the Corps of Engineers might take the property one way or the other. “They are scared,” he said. And he added that the lack of information compounds the problem.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s staff said eminent domain won’t happen, but Armes said folks are still uneasy.
Armes is urging residents to contact the state’s congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., and let its members know they are worried. He also made a plea to officials involved in the process.
“Please don’t take their property,” he said.
Posted By: john koski On: 5/31/2014
Title: fort polk buy out
It is easier to say you are patriotic than to actually be a patriot. Vernon Parish has two major industries to support the surrounding communities - the Army and Timber. The buy-out of timber land reduces the capabilities of one of these industries. Therefore, the sacrifice of 29 residents for the population and livelihood of both Vernon Parish residents and the State of Louisiana economy seems relatively small.
The procurement of land during the onset of WWII was different. Over two hundred families sacrificed their property and livelihood for development of Camp Polk. They were displaced and not offered fair market value for their properties. Some of these people were the ancestors of our current land-owners. Our nation was at the end of the Great Depression. The displaced land-owners and tenant farmers were not afforded the assistant to move or offered fair market value for the crops that they had ready for harvest when they were forced to move in a matter of hours. Everything left behind became property of the Army.
History should teach us a lesson. Private land-owners should face the facts and realize the necessity of our troops and allies in today's times. With China and Russia expanding their control over surrounding nations, the threat of terrorism against our democracy may not be our nation's only agenda.
What goes around comes around. Vernon Parish government officials are known by many citizens to use their political powers to rob people of their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property. These same elected officials have stolen properties through condemnation, destroyed businesses to reach their personal agenda, illegally seized properties, and illegally arrested individuals - military, retired military, and civilians alike. They do not discriminate outside of their closed circle of peers. This information became apparent through personal experience and discussions with other citizen who experienced the same or similar events inflected upon them by their public officials. I was even told by the Sheriff's Office that they would not afford me any assistance to protect my property or life from the threats that continue today - due to the political connections others have with the Sheriff's Office , as well as other public officials. Again, this story is not isolated to my own.
Vernon Parish government officials expect me to sacrifice my rights to life, liberty, and property to benefit private agendas - not for the general public as a whole - they need to step up and do the same under the legal parameters of law. At least these land-owners are being afforded fair market value and assistants to relocate. We are only offered continued threats and terrorism.
So, the nation makes another call upon residents of Vernon Parish. History tell us that it comes with the territory. Vernon, Sabine, Beauregard and Natchitoches Parishes are part of the Army community and living in a military community has the risk of sacrificing your home and livelihood for the sake of the nation every day. Know where you live and accept the consequences for the choices you made to settle and build in an at-risk region. I can only salute you for your sacrifice. God bless!
Posted By: victor scarinzi On: 4/24/2014
it don't matter what anyone wants no more and im scared the people will never be willing to fight as they have in past for anything it seems.
Posted By: Gerald Cuvillier On: 4/24/2014
The federal government is grabbing land and water resources all over the country. This administration is dealing in pure tyranny and this must stop. They are pushing the citizens into a corner and just waiting for the spark to ignite the flame so they can institute marshal law. If congress will not bring this tyranny in check, the people will and it will not be pretty.
Posted By: Thomas Willard McInnis On: 4/23/2014
Title: Another Land Grab by Government
The McInnis family is also one of the families that lost their place to Camp Polk in 1941. My question is , how many times does one family have to sacrifice ? It seems like this threat is to take senior citizens property in their last years, which should be their happiest. It is taking away what they have worked for ALL of their lives. No one can pay enough money to pay for their heritage. General Yarbrough and General Chinn promised us this would not happen. If our citizens can't believe what our generals tell us , how can our soldiers believe them?