MBS International Airport leaders are seizing a farmer's land to make way for a $50 million renovation at the Freeland terminal.
Board of Commissioners at the airstrip representing Midland, Bay City and Saginaw counties are asserting eminent domain.
The lawsuit labels Ronald F. Krauss' property northwest of the airport a public nuisance. Eminent domain allows a government entity to seize private property for public use as long as it fairly compensates the land-owner.
The board hired Bloomfield Hills law firm Monaghan, LoPrete, McDonald, Yakima, Grenke & McCarthy to represent the airport. Attorney Boris Yakima is the terminal's attorney.
Assistant Airport Manager Ryan Riesinger said officials think they have offered Krauss a fair and reasonable bid, but he has not accepted it.
"Basically, this is where we're at and we'll go from here," Riesinger said.
Numerous calls to Krauss from The Saginaw News went unanswered this morning.
MBS wants to obtain 155 acres from Krauss as it builds a 75,000-square-foot terminal with hopes of competing with Flint's Bishop International Airport.
A decade ago, MBS had higher passenger counts than the Flint travel hub. Bishop has pumped millions into its facilities since then and increased its passenger counts.
MBS officials want to boost passenger counts, which totaled 382,140 travelers flying in and out of the strip in 2006, compared to more than 1 million at Bishop, Michigan Department of Transportation statistics show.
The airport will apply for a grant from the Small Community Air Service Development Program and use it to recruit more airlines beyond its current fare, Northwest Airlines and United Express.
The cities of Saginaw and Midland and Bay County each own a third of the airport. The Saginaw council is the last government body to sign off on legal action.
Armed with a new study from Seabury Airline Planning Group LLC, Bishop already is working on its nonstop flights, seeking out meetings with airlines and beefing up advertising and networking.
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