HALF PARK FUND PAID LANDOWNERS; $202,914 SENT HERE
Richmond, Jan 26.--State Treasurer John M. Purcell declared today that the state of Virginia has so far paid to the Shenandoah National Park landowners $744,790 upon orders of the courts, and that he is sending checks as fast as he receives the court orders directing the payments. The total of land payments so far approved in the eight counties is $1,372,735.
A compilation by Mr. Purcell shows that in the case of Rockingham $202,914 has been paid landowners in that county or sent to the courts for distribution. The total of Rockingham's awards were $279,867.
A table, prepared by Mr. Purcell on Jan. 24, shows the status of park land payments as follows:
Albemarle county--Amount of rewards, $42,003; number of awards, 26;; number of awards paid, 4; number of awards unpaid 22; amount of awards paid, $16,016; balance unpaid, $25,987;
Augusta county--Amount of awards, $14,666; number of awards 35; number of awards paid 14; number of awards unpaid 21; amount of awards paid $7,348; amount of balance not paid $7,317;
Greene county--Amount of awards, $132,285; number of awards 104; number of awards paid 15; number unpaid 89; amount of awards paid $24,971; amount unpaid $107,314;
Madison county--Amount of awards $235,098; number of awards 195; number of awards paid 24; number unpaid 171; amount of awards paid $36,130; amount unpaid $196,968;
Page county--Amount of awards $431,767; number of awards 204; number of awards paid 106; number unpaid 34; amount of awards paid $238,479; amount unpaid $148,287;
Rappahannock county--Amount of awards $180,242; number of awards 137; number of awards paid 40; number unpaid 97; amount of awards paid $104,928; amount unpaid $76,313;
Rockingham county--Amount of awards $279,867; number of awards 106; number of awards paid 56; number unpaid 50; amount of awards paid $202,914; amount of awards not paid $76,952;
Warren county--Amount of awards $56,805; number of awards 69; number of awards paid 16; number of awards unpaid 53; amount of awards paid $24,000; amount unpaid $32,804.
No reports have yet been made on many of the awards to landowners which were submitted to arbitration. It is expected that the card of Arbitration will complete their report within the next ten days, and as rapidly as the awards are made. Mr. Purcell stated, the checks will be forwarded to the landowners after they have been approved by the courts as in the case where the landowners agreed to the Appraisal Board figures.
Some members of the legislature who are in touch with the National Park situation, are discussing legislation which will empower the State Conservation Commission to take possession of the land needed in the park development, which is new in court litigation and turn it over to the Federal government with the land which has been paid for.
The amount of the award to contesting landowners will be deposited with the courts, and then the landowners can go to court to fight it out over the difference in price between the award and what he asks. This plan is followed by the State Highway Commission in cases where the highway commission and the landowners cannot agree on price.
By Legislation of this kind, it is declared, the opening of the Shenandoah can be made this year. there are about ten landowners out of a possible 1,000, who intend to carry the price to the courts. These ten should not be allowed to delay indefinitely the transfer of the park area to the Federal government, it is pointed out, thereby postponing the formal establishment of the park and its partial opening.
Front Royal Jan. 26.--The State Conservation Commission today announced that dates have been set in the eight circuit courts of the Shenandoah National Park area for the formal condemnation of the land, the value of which has been submitted to arbitration. It is understood that the arbitration awards will be announced next week. Condemnation of the park lands will follow the publication of awards by about 3 weeks.
Dates set for the condemnation of the arbitrated land follows:
Approximately 200 tracts are involved in these proceedings. They include all the tracts of land within the Kelsey survey which were not embraced in the condemnation orders of last October and November. These are the tracts of land whose owners objected to the price fixed by the appraisal boards and who later submitted their claims to the Governor's appraisal boards. All these cases have been heard, and announcement of the awards are expected daily.