Navy schedules opening ceremony for Goliad airfield

Nov. 6, 2011 at 5:06 a.m.

GOLIAD - An open house and groundbreaking ceremony for Navy Outlying Field Goliad will be at the Berclair Mansion in Berclair from 5 to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

In addition to the groundbreaking ceremony, the Navy and prime contractor, The Ross Group will provide detailed information on construction at the airfield.

Goliad County filed an objection April 12 to the U.S. Navy's condemnation suit that would turn over the Goliad Industrial Airpark to the government through eminent domain.

In its objection, the county responded to each of the claims made by the Navy in its Feb. 11 filing in federal court.

The Navy wants the former military landing field so pilots can practice touch-and-go landings, as well as other training maneuvers, but the county and Navy could not reach an agreement for the purchase.

Homeowners near the strip in rural Goliad County also objected to the Navy owning the land.

Among other things, the county contends the Navy failed to meet all the conditions required to file a condemnation suit, overstepped its powers and that the condemnation is unconstitutional.

The Goliad Airpark Coalition, a group of residents opposed to the Navy takeover, had encouraged the county to fight the Navy on the premise of that case.

The Navy filed an order on March 10 to transfer the title of the land to the United States after 30 days, according to court documents. That motion, granted the next day, gave the Navy the right to begin projects on the property, and hopes to have it operational by 2012.

The county did not oppose the motion.

The county also filed a request for a jury to hear its case for denying condemnation, or alternatively, address the issue of adequate compensation.

The Navy deposited $2.36 million in the registry of the federal court, based on appraisals for the airpark.

Goliad County retained the law firm on a contingency contract, which provides payment based on how much money the county can collect beyond the $2.36 million, should the property be condemned.

In August, the Navy approved the Goliad construction project to bring it to military standards, awarding the contract to the Ross Group for $14.75 million.

Public officials, civic leaders, neighbors and members of the community are encouraged to attend the open house and learn more about the construction project.

In a news release, the Navy said it seeks to be an active member of the community, maintaining open dialogue with the public. Information at the open house will be limited to the construction project at this time because of ongoing litigation.



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