11 CALL FOR ACTION INVESTIGATES: Family fighting loss of farm to city project

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A Springs family is losing their farm because of a city project.

The city of Colorado Springs has declared eminent domain so they can use the property as part of a major water project.

The family tells 11 News Call for Action investigator Katie Pelton that they are devastated to leave their farm.

"This is home," Lisa Eastep said. "We're kind of up a creek; we don't know what to do."

The city is forcing the family to sell 120 acres off Bradley Road near Marksheffel. The property has been in Eastep's family for years.

"We bought this piece of property a little over 20 years ago. We built our own home," she told Pelton.

Her daughter grew up there and still lives on the farm.

"Most of my childhood memories are from here," Emily Green said. "[My parents] helped refurbish the downstairs so I could have my own home and raise my daughter here."

The city plans on building a reservoir nearby as part of the Southern Delivery System Project, which brings water from the Pueblo Reservoir to Colorado Springs and surrounding areas. Eminent domain allows the city to take private property for public use -- if they pay the owner.

"Their original offer was just about $750,000, which sounds like a lot of money until you go to buy another large piece of land," Eastep said. "Their next offer was for $825,000."

Eastep said that's nowhere near enough.

"There's a piece of land around the corner that doesn't have anything on it but a well … they want 1.3 million for that empty piece of property."

The family says money aside, letting go will be hard.

"I can't tell you how many times I've been thrown off a horse here. It's just everywhere I look, everywhere I turn there's another memory," Green told Pelton.

Pelton turned to Steve Berry with Colorado Springs Utilities.

"Our goal always is to avoid any kind of eminent domain proceedings, and it's always to come to a resolution without that. The great majority of cases we're able to do so; this has been one of those unique cases that has been more challenging," Berry explained.

"We have absolutely no reason to move other than the city is buying it," Eastep said. "So it makes it really tough."

The family has hired a lawyer to fight the city's decision. Ultimately, it will be up to a judge to decide, and that's expected to happen in the next 90 days.