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SIOUX CITY -- The city of Sioux City is seeking to use eminent domain to acquire about 7,000 square feet of land and a 22,000-square-foot temporary construction easement from Menards for a future road project. 

Sioux City plans to realign a portion of Garretson Avenue near Siouxland Christian School in the summer 2019 but has "come to an impasse" in negotiations with Menard Inc. for a portion of property that includes part of the east side of its parking lot and road access, according to city documents. Documents say the city has been negotiating since August 2017. 

The Garretson Avenue realignment project will shift the road to the south in order to allow traffic more room near the new signal on Gordon Drive, at the request of the Iowa Department of Transportation. 

"The location where Garretson Avenue comes into the Menards parking lot is too close in proximity to the signal and doesn't allow cars to stack up near the signal," said city community development operations manager Jeff Hanson. "The DOT is requiring us to relocate Garretson to the south." 

Hanson said the city needs to acquire the parcel from Menards to complete the realignment. 

A request for comment from the Menards corporate office was not immediately returned. 

If the city votes to move ahead with the process, a compensation commission would determine just compensation for the property owner. City documents say the city had last offered $46,000 for the land, $35,000 for the acquisition and $11,000 for a temporary construction easement. 

Sioux City opted to use eminent domain once last year to acquire nearly 9,000 square feet of land and more than 15,000 square feet in easements on the property of Brad Lepper for the Big Sioux River Trail project.

After the Woodbury County Compensation Commission decided $34,000 would be an appropriate purchase price for the land, the city appealed that ruling, contending it should pay less. Lepper is now locked in a lengthy legal battle with the city to obtain what he believes is a fair price. 

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City hall reporter

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