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story.lead_photo.caption In this November 2019 photo, homes damaged by the May 22, 2019, tornado remain vacant along the 400 block of Union Street. The Jefferson City School District has acquired more than 30 properties in the area. Photo by Sally Ince / News Tribune.

The Jefferson City School District filed an eminent domain lawsuit Friday to acquire a property needed for planned athletic facility construction at Jefferson City High School.

The 419 Union St. property is the only one the district still needs to acquire to begin construction, which is expected to begin in May.

The building sat destroyed by the May 2019 tornado with its roof torn off for about a year until the city tore it down because it posed a safety hazard.

The property is owned by ACM Vision V, a limited liability lease-to-own housing company tied to Vision Property Management, a South Carolina-based firm.

The district wanted to inquire about purchasing the property but could not reach the property owner, calling numerous times and sending three certified letters but receiving no response, JC Schools Chief Financial/Operating Officer Jason Hoffman said.

The district sent a legal notice to notify the owner of the district's intent to condemn the property and what their rights are.

The property was appraised by a state-certified property appraiser, and the district sent the property owner a written offer to purchase the property for the appraised value.

The property owner had 30 days to send a written offer back, "and to date, no response has been received," according to court documents.

The district filed the condemnation petition Friday, more than 60 days after sending the legal notice.

A judge will order a panel of three appraisers to look at the property and ensure they agree with the appraised value, which is $7,000, according to Cole County and Jefferson City's geographic information system.

Once the valuation is filed, the school district is permitted to pay that value and take possession of the property.

The News Tribune attempted to reach the property owner but did not receive a response.

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The athletic facility will be built in an area bounded by Stadium Boulevard, Jackson Street, Oberman Place and Adams Street. It is located immediately northwest, across Jackson Street, from the high school's Adkins Stadium.

It will include a baseball/softball field with dugouts, bullpens, batting cages and bleachers; a press box, concessions, restrooms and storage facilities for use between fields; a soccer field with lighting and home and visitor bleachers; a tennis complex with eight tennis courts; a pavilion with restrooms, concessions, storage and a viewing deck; and elevation of visitors bleachers at Adkins Stadium.

JC Schools spent approximately $3 million to acquire all other properties needed for construction. Construction will cost about $8 million, according to the district. The district's goal is for the fields to be ready for use by this fall.

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