Ditzler settlement near

Ditzler settlement near

By Joe Baker, Senior Editor

Winnebago County appears ready to finally settle the matter of compensation for taking Tom Ditzler’s property for the Springfield-Harrison extension.

The county board, this Thursday, is scheduled to act on a resolution authorizing settlement for the slightly more than 10 acres taken for the project.

Ditzler said his private appraisal on the property and the appraisal obtained by the county were far apart, but he said he has been battling county officials in court for the past three years, and he is just tired of it. He said he wants the matter settled so he can get on with his life.

The county is prepared to pay $105,000 for the land it took, a figure Ditzler regards as less than what it was worth. Payment was approved by the Public Works Committee of the county board, chaired by John Elliott.

Construction of the road across the former Ditzler land has been stalled for some time because the roadway has been sinking in one spot and also has tilted.

Workmen recently have leveled the concrete and have dumped more gravel in the sinkhole in preparation for pouring fresh concrete. County officials insist the project is within budget and on schedule.

The property was seized through a process known as “quick take,” which enables a governmental entity to grab land and begin construction before compensating the landowner.

Many observers regarded the county’s actions in taking the property as underhanded. County workers appeared on the land abruptly one morning and began removing trees before Ditzler had time to go to court to seek an injunction.

Environmentally-minded individuals protested the destruction of natural growth on the tract, and Ditzler’s daughter and a family friend were arrested for trying to block county workers from chopping down trees.

The project has drawn considerable criticism of Kris Cohn, county board chairman, and members of the county board.

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