A 79-year-old has come out on top in an eminent domain fight with the Aldine Independent School District, which voted on Tuesday night to cease negotiations on purchasing the man’s home next to its stadium work site.
The Aldine ISD board voted 7-0 to rescind the resolution for eminent domain involving homes next to W.W. Thorne Stadium.
The district paid particular attention to the Aldine Meadows property owned by Travis Upchurch Sr. and his family.
The property has been in his family since the early 1900s, and he has lived at the home on Aldine Meadows for 43 years.
“I’ve been here a long time,” 79-year-old Upchurch Sr. told ABC13 before the vote on Tuesday. “It’s just part of us, I guess.”
The district built Thorne Stadium in 1979, later beginning construction to replace the stadium with a new venue on the same plot of land in 2022. It is slated to be completed in 2024.
“They claim they want to use it for a parking lot, but I’ve been here since the stadium was built, and it’s never been filled up with a football game,” Upchurch said.
The district had eminent domain as a weapon in the fight.
“Eminent domain is the state’s right to take private land for public use. However, the Texas Constitution protects landowners and requires governmental entities to pay just compensation for that taking,” Richard Weaver, a real estate attorney not associated with the case, said.
Travis Justin Upchurch Jr., the 79-year-old’s son, described the process over the last few months as stressful. He said they had used every opportunity they could to get in front of the school board.
He said they have received a tremendous amount of support from members of the community who have approached the board on their behalf.
“He wants to live here,” Upchurch Jr. said about his father. “We want him to live here.”
The younger Upchurch added that the family would be happy to turn the property into green space once he no longer wants to or no longer can live there.
According to the district, the vote allows the older Upschurch to retain ownership and landowner responsibilities for these properties.
“To this end, this matter is concluded and all negotiations have ceased,” the district wrote in a statement.