Ellen Balagna and Mark S. Balagna, et al v. The United States of America
Case No. 1:14-cv-00021-EDK
We filed a case on behalf of more than 70 Illinois landowners who own property along a 15-mile abandoned railroad right-of-way between Dunfermline and Farmington. The case seeks compensation for the property taken from these Illinois landowners as a result of the federal government’s authorization to convert the abandoned railroad easement into a public recreational hiking and biking trial.
The Illinois landowners filed their claims for compensation in January 2014. The government has agreed to pay most of the 70 owners compensation for the taking. Currently, the property is being appraised to determine the amount of compensation owed each owner. These appraisals should be completed this spring.
By way of background and history of the case, the Macomb, Vermont and Bath Railroad (later it changed its name to Peoria and Hannibal Railroad Company) originally acquired the right of way in the mid 1800s. The Macomb, Vermont and Bath Railroad went through several changes of ownership until eventually the line was acquired by the Great Northern Pacific and Burlington Northern Railroad Company in 1970. After several mergers, the Great Northern Pacific and Burlington Northern Railroad Company came to be known as the BNSF Railway Company in 2005.
In January 2013, the Railroad filed its request to abandon the right of way with the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB). On January 23, 2013, the Canton Park District filed a request to negotiate with BNSF for purchase of the line for trail use.
On May 24, 2013, the STB issued an order authorizing the Railroad to negotiate with Canton Park District for trail use. The Railroad is currently in negotiations with Canton Park District to sell the right-of-way for a public recreational trail.
Counsel for the landowners continues to meet with all eligible Illinois landowners to discuss their claims for compensation in this case.
For more information about this case, please contact:
Meghan Largent or Alexandrea Barney