Feds to condemn land for Flight 93 memorial
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The government will begin taking land from seven Somerset County property owners so that the Flight 93 memorial can be built in time for the 10th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, the National Park Service said.
In a statement obtained by The Associated Press, the park service said it had teamed up with a group representing the victims' families to work with landowners since before 2005 to acquire the land.
"But with few exceptions, these negotiations have been unsuccessful," said the statement.
The seven property owners own about 500 acres still needed for what will ultimately be a $58 million, 2,200-acre permanent memorial and national park at the crash site near Shanksville, about 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.
"We always prefer to get that land from a willing seller. And sometimes you can just not come to an agreement on certain things," park service spokesman Phil Sheridan said.
Two owners account for about 420 acres the park service plans to condemn, including Svonavec Inc. -- which owns 275 acres that contain the impact site where 40 passengers and crew died on Sept. 11, 2001. About 150 acres are owned by a family that operates a scrap yard.
"It's absolutely a surprise. I'm shocked by it. I'm disappointed by it," said Tim Lambert, who owns nearly 164 acres that his grandfather bought in the 1930s. The park service plans to condemn two parcels totaling about five acres -- land, he said, he had always intended to donate for the memorial.
First Published May 7, 2009 9:53 am