Brooklyn Park condemns century-old farm for road expansion - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Brooklyn Park condemns century-old farm for road expansion

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Charlie Fischbach has been selling corn grown on his family farm for decades. This will be his last season at his usual stand.

"They say: Sept. 17, we have to be out," Fischbach said.

Brooklyn Park recently condemned his mother's property to make for the new Highway 169 and 93rd Avenue interchange.

"Mom is 92 and doing real well at home. She's got both legs amputated and she does real well at home," Fischbach told FOX 9 News. "To uproot her at this point is kind of sad."

After 62 years Nellie Fischbach doesn't know where she'll go -- and what makes it worse, is that it isn't the first time she's had to move at the government's request.

"Befuddled -- what do you do? I don't know what the answer is," Nellie Fischbach told FOX 9 News.

She says it all started in the mid 1960's when local government first forced her and her husband to pick up and move their home and seven children so Highway 169 could expand through the middle of their farm.

"I had a baby in the middle of that, and we had a ladder going up and down to the kitchen," Nellie Fischbach recalled. "I had to crawl up and down it. Not real easy."

While the potatoes kept growing over the years, so did the cities around the Fischbach farm. Brooklyn Park and MNDOT also acquired more of the farm, including the corner where Rasmussen College now sits and about a dozen acres near the 610 and Highway 169 interchange.

Changes for the 93rd Avenue intersection have been in the works for decades, all in an effort to help about 70,000 drivers avoid gridlock.

"It should improve the safety of the corridor by preventing a lot of rear-end accidents as a result of the signalized intersection and the high volume on 169," said Scott Pedersen, west metro area manager. "We try to balance. It's unfortunate. We have to buy right away. You wish you could make everyone happy. You are never going to achieve that."

Still, Charlie Fischbach argues previous construction at 85th Avenue and 610 has caused a reduction in traffic near the farm.

"I think business is down 20-25 percent on account of the traffic flow," he estimated. "If it was something that was going to work, you could understand it."

A steady flow of customers continue to stop by the stand each day. Many have bought corn, Christmas Trees, pumpkins and other farm-fresh items there for decades.

"It's going to be sad to see this place disappear," said Jean Hoze. "I'm not certain if a highway is more important than a family businesses."

Nellie Fischbach could not agree more.

"It's stupid; absolutely stupid," she said. "The whole deal is kicking us off the farm."

Brooklyn Park's city engineer says the Sept. 17 date is not a hard date for the Fischbachs to be off the farm, and they are working with attorneys to get her into a new place.

Construction is expected to start in April of next year, but MnDOT told FOX 9 News they would like to break ground by December.

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