YOUNGSTOWN -- The Ohio Department of Transportation is seeking court help to build the 711 Connector highway.
In documents filed Wednesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, department director Gordon Proctor seeks a judicial order to require owners to sell the vacant parcels they own to the state to make way for the highway through Brier Hill.
In the five separate lawsuits filed by state Attorney General Betty Montgomery, the state says ODOT has determined the fair market value of the properties and deposited that amount with the clerk of courts.
ODOT seeks five properties on Dearborn Avenue and Calvin Street that the department values at a total of $4,350.
The county auditor values the properties between $300 and $4,900 each. The $4,900 commercial property is valued at $300 by the state. Another property, given a $600 value by the county auditor, is valued at $2,850 by the state.
Named in the suits are the property owners, some of whom live outside the city or out of state, and the county treasurer and county auditor.
All but one of the property owners are delinquent in taxes, each owing from $41 to $1,846.
According to the state constitution, ODOT has the right to take the properties to construct or improve a public highway, the suit says.
The state started buying homes to clear the way for the 711 Connector in late 2000, and demolition began in February. Highway construction is set for 2003.