Annexation of sports complex land halted

Lockport Township has secured a temporary restraining order in response to the city of Three Rivers on Tuesday annexing an 80-acre parcel of land for development of a multi-field sports complex.
The issue is set to be settled before circuit court judge Paul Stutesman at 1 p.m. Feb. 17.
The restraining order was signed Wednesday morning by St. Joseph County District Court Judge Jeff Middleton, in Stutesman’s absence.
According to the restraining order, Three Rivers’ attempt to annex property out of Lockport Township by resolution has been suspended by virtue of Middleton’s signature.
Despite the legal wrangling, leading sports complex advocate and Three Rivers City Commissioner Jared Hoffmaster said work related to development of the facility will continue.
Under the laws according to annexation by proclamation, the city of Three Rivers did everything legally to secure the property, Hoffmaster said.
Meanwhile, the township’s case alleges that annexation by resolution is improper because the property is not a park, nor is it vacant. The township says it has a permanent easement and $277,000 of water-line structures located on the property.
Court documents furthermore indicate the city has not approached the township on any cooperative level with respect to the property, formerly owned by Northern Construction.
Ray Signorello, Lockport Township supervisor, said there was no other choice but to seek the temporary restraining order.

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