MCKINNEY (CBSDFW.COM) – A new road expansion project known as Laud Howell Parkway in McKinney has some area residents dealing with déjà vu, and hoping that the city’s eminent domain effort does not displace them.
Jack Geren has lived on and farmed the lands of his family’s property throughout his entire life. The plot of land appropriately sits along Geren Drive, named after the family. The 85-year-old farmer now spends his time raising cows on the land. “Lots of people wants this place,” Geren said, “but I told them, until I get where I can’t take care of it, I’m going to raise cows.”
The first go-round with this issue was back in 2008. At the time, Geren and others made a deal with the City of McKinney and agreed on a plan that would build the highway just off of their property, rather than right through it. The city signed off on the agreement, but the project never broke ground.
Fast forward to now, in 2016, and the city is once again trying to take up where they left off. But, according to Geren, they are ignoring the previous agreement. One option now being explored — again — would build Laud Howell Parkway right through their property.
“Sort of like Lazarus, it raised from the dead,” added farmer’s wife Marilyn Geren. She thought that “everything was in place, that we would never be bothered.”
Denise Lessard, the communications and media manager for the City of McKinney, responded to the couple’s concerns about being displaced. “Staff will be recommending a hybrid alignment that doesn’t displace any residents,” Lessard said.
The hybrid plan suggests a parkway layout that would dip just beneath the Geren property, similar to what was agreed upon in 2008. Despite that, the Gerens said that they will not rest easy until they receive reassurance from the city that they will not be displaced.
The Gerens said that they just want to live out their days on the land that they have known through their entire lives — without any further interuptions. “I want to stay here until I die if I can,” Jack Geren said.
McKinney city leaders are expected to vote on the plan at a Tuesday meeting.