Monday, February 22, 2010

Residents Fighting to Keep Centennial Farm

Some residents in Champaign County, Illinois are fighting to keep their farms from being carved up for a new road project:

The agreement with Urbana would detail how the two cities will use a $5 million appropriation from the state Legislature. It also would allow officials to continue negotiating to purchase farmland on which the road is to be built.

Some affected residents have spoken in opposition at Urbana city council and Champaign County board meetings.

"It takes right of way to build the road, and we would have to negotiate for right of way," said Assistant City Engineer Dave Clark. "And that impacts people's farmland and businesses."

Billy Ziegler, who owns farmland at 4704 N. Willow Road in Urbana, said he stands to lose between 20 and 25 acres of his own land if the road project continues. His farm has operated since 1865, he said.

"(Farmland) is one of the greatest resources that this county has ever had," Ziegler said. "And once you cover it with concrete, you can't reclaim it."

Overall, Ziegler said 85 acres of farmland would be lost if Olympian Drive is extended.

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