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042319-wsj-news-park-land1

Central Park was renamed for former East High School principal Milton McPike.

A jury has decided that the city of Madison will pay a former landowner $153,000 for property the city acquired to build McPike Park on Madison’s Isthmus, according to the city attorney.

The city acquired the land from the Sands Family Trust through a condemnation process and paid the company $2.567 million for the property. The Sands sued the city, claiming the property was worth more than $4 million, city attorney Michael May said in an email to the City Council and Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway.

A jury determined last week that the property was worth $2.72 million, and the city will pay the difference, May said.

May called the decision a win for the city because it falls within 15% of the original payment. Had the jury decided the original payment was off by more than 15%, the city would have also had to pay the Sands’ attorney’s fees, which could have been upward of $500,000, May said.

“It is also barely above the offer of an additional payment the city offered to settle the case last week, an offer declined by the landowner,” May said.

May said the difference determined by the jury was within the range of error for any proposal.

The city had taken the land through condemnation to create the park, then known as Central Park.

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Shelley K. Mesch is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. She earned a degree in journalism from DePaul University.