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updated: 9/18/2017 1:59 PM

Indiana man, wife fight land seizure for bridge, trail

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NASHVILLE, Ind. -- A southern Indiana man and his wife are fighting plans to place a 1930s-era steel bridge over a creek for a pedestrian trail because they don't want the span near their century-old home.

The proposed Salt Creek Trail Bridge would take about a third of an acre from Gary and Sheila Oliver's property in Nashville, Indiana, the Herald-Times reported . The 3.7-mile trail will lead into Brown County State Park.

"That bridge would be 124 feet from our dining room window. I measured," Gary Oliver said. "The bridge span they want to put there is 200 feet long."

The state Transportation Department offered the couple $7,800 for their land three months ago. The Olivers said they aren't interested in selling and are fighting the proposed use of eminent domain to acquire their land.

"We moved here from our farm because of the serenity and peacefulness of its location," Gary Oliver said. "We never dreamed of a bridge in our front yard, or that a walking and biking trail would be 50 yards from our deck that overlooks Salt Creek."

The Olivers have asked county commissioners to find another location for the bridge. Commissioner Diana Biddle says the Transportation Department controls the project, but department officials say commissioners can change the project.

Former Brown County Community Foundation Trustee Ken Birkemeier said he still supports the trail, but that he isn't happy with how state and county officials have responded to the Olivers' concerns.

"In my mind, does the end justify the means?" Birkemeier asked. "Well, it would be great to have the trail, but that does not go along with what is happening with this use of eminent domain."

The project has been in development for 14 years.

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Information from: The Herald Times, http://www.heraldtimesonline.com

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