Remember City of Norwood v. Horney, 853 N.E.2d 1115 (Ohio 2006)? Of course you do. That was the case in which the Ohio Supreme Court held that inasmuch as under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo holding it was free to fashion state right-to-take criteria in ways that are more protective of citizens’ rights than under the U.S. Constititution as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court, it would refuse to follow Kelo and would deny the City of Norwood the right to take Horney’s home for a new $125 million mall. Eventually, Horney settled with the redevelopers who paid him $1.25 million for his home (ten times more than what was originally offered). You can read all about it in Gregory Korte, Last Rookwood House Tumbles, Cincinnati.com, October 30, 2009.
That was in 2008. So what has been happening in Norwood, as far as this redevelopment project is concerned, since then? We’re glad you asked. The answer is: nothing. The Cincinnati Enquirer on-line service reports that the Horney home has been torn down along with a couple of others that still remained on the project site, but nothing has been built in their stead.
The would-be redevelopers are quoted as saying that they remain interested in developing the site when the economy rebounds. Which once again goes to prove our point that there is nothing “public” about the use of eminent domain for redevelopment projects that simpy tear down existing neighborhoods and replace them with commercial enterprises like malls, office buildings, car dealership and gambling casinos. Like all other business ventures, these developments carry a risk of failure when the econony tanks (or for other reasons) and therefore public funds should not be placed at risk in this fashion. If the would-be redevelopment project is such a good deal financially, let the redevelopers risk their own money in pursuing it, and not put public funds at risk.