Grand Valley State University wants to expand its downtown campus and is turning to eminent domain as a tool to accomplish its plans according to a report in The Grand Rapids Press. The university has been negotiating with DeVries Properties to purchase a former A&P warehouse site adjacent to its downtown campus to expand its Seidman College of Business. The court can decide if GVSU's claim of using eminent domain to achieve a public purpose is valid and if so the court has the authority to negotiate a price.
Eminent domain is a powerful tool that government should only use as a last resort when there are no other practical alternatives and should never be used as a bargaining chip. The protection of private property is a bedrock principal of a free people and is guaranteed in both the U.S. and Michigan Constitutions. Just the threat of government use of eminent domain sends a chilling signal regarding the security of private property rights for residents and businesses.
If there is any hope of turning Michigan's economy around it must come from private-sector investment and not more government expansion. Private capital essential to growing jobs in Michigan is much more likely to be invested where private property rights are secure and not threatened by the actions of well-meaning public officials.