Brookings County jury award property owner $850,000

BROOKINGS, S.D.(KJJQ)- A Brookings County jury awards a property owner $850,000 for land taken for construction of the I-29 Exit 130 interchange at 20th Street South.

The City used eminent domain after a settlement could not be reached.

The award is more than 20-times the amount originally offered by the State of South Dakota and City of Brookings, which was less than $38,000 for the 6.1 acres. After last week’s two-day trial, the jury decided the value of the land is nearly $139,000 an acre. An expert witness for the State and City testified fair market value should be set at $6,000 an acre.

Brookings Mayor Ope Niemeyer:

Mayor Niemeyer believes they can pay the difference without having to take money from elsewhere because the project came in well under estimates.

The property owner is RCS Development, Inc., owned by Renae Rohl of Fargo. Tim Hogan of Brookings was one of her attorneys on the case. He says the jury saw the value of the land, which is zoned for multi-family dwellings.

The State and City are also required to pay interest as well as attorney’s fees, expert fees, and costs. The final amount will be determined at a hearing.

Construction on the $20 million interchange is nearly complete with it set to open on July 14th.