By BILL APPPLEGATE, Vice President and General Manager of WOIO/WUAB

MAY 19, 2003

There is a battle going on in Lakewood over the city's plan to build a multi-million dollar commercial development and, in the process, bulldoze a middle-class neighborhood.
At first glance, it looks like the mythic battle between David and Goliath, with the city playing the part of the ugly Goliath. But the truth is it is more a dispute over whether the greater good should prevail.
Lakewood wants to seize and eliminate some 55 homes and several hundred apartments on the west side of the city to build a complex of upscale condominiums, stores and offices. The city says it needs the development to expand its tax base and attract jobs, and Mayor Madeline Cain makes a compelling argument.
Lakewood has one of the highest property tax rates in the county, and if it is to continue to provide the quality of city services that has also made it a highly desirable place to live, then something has got to give.
Opponents and property owners, of course, disagree and say they will fight the city in court.
The very sound of the words eminent domain ring scary and repugnant to almost any property owner, but in this case, the city officials of Lakewood are doing the right thing by sacrificing the well being of a few for the needs of many.

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