CHAPTER 294 - STATE BUILDING AND GROUNDS COMMISSION PROVIDING FOR ACQUISITION OF CERTAIN LANDS IN DOVER

AN ACT MAKING PROVISION FOR THE ACQUISITION OF CERTAIN ADDITIONAL LANDS AND EASEMENTS IN THE CITY OF DOVER FOR THE STATE OF DELAWARE, TO BE USED FOR BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS AND FOR OTHER STATE PURPOSES, AND MAKING AN APPROPRIATION THEREFOR.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:

Section 1. That the State Building and Grounds Commission as created and established by Chapter 211, Volume 44, Laws of Delaware, 1943, shall be vested with the powers and duties in this Act declared. Whenever hereafter in this Act the word "Commission" is used it shall have reference to the said State Building and Grounds Commission.

Section 2. The Commission shall, for and in the name of the State of Delaware, acquire by purchase, gift, or condemnation all or so much and such portion of the land and premises situated in the City of Dover as the said Commission shall deem desirable for the purposes of this Act and included within the following boundaries; namely, all those certain pieces, parcels or lots of land lying and being situate in the City of Dover, East Dover Hundred, Kent County and State of Delaware, and being bounded on the north by East Loockerman Street Extended and on the west by Federal Street and on the south by North street and lands of the State of Delaware and on the east by the St. Jones River and being within the metes and bounds and courses and distances as follows, to wit: Beginning at the center point of the bridge over the St. Jones River situated at the end of East Loockerman Street Extended and thence following the center line of the said East Loockerman Street Extended in a westerly direction 783.00 feet to the beginning of a dual highway, or street thence by a left deflection angle of 90° 02' a distance of 22.20 feet to the center line of the east-bound lane of the dual highway, or street; thence by a right deflection angle of 90° 00' and following the center line of the said east-bound lane of the dual highway, or street 335.62 feet to the center line of Federal Street thence by a left deflection angle of 90° 30' and with the center line of the said Federal Street 291.37 feet to the center line of North Street thence by a left deflection angle of 89° 31' and following the center line of North Street 496.34 feet to the east curb line of Legislative Avenue, thence by a left deflection angle of 91° 40' and following the face of the east curb of Legislative Avenue 20.58 feet to a point of radius thence with the east curb of Legislative Avenue in a northwesterly direction following a curve of 12.14 feet radius a curved distance of 12.60 feet, or a chord distance of 12.05 feet to a point of tangent thence by a right deflection angle off the said chord of 23° 26' and following the face of the east curb of Legislative Avenue 48.54 feet to a corner for lands of the City of Dover and lands of the State of Delaware thence by a right deflection angle of 91° 42' and following the division line between the lands of the City of Dover and the State of Delaware 203.34 feet thence by a right deflection angle of 8° 20' and following the aforesaid division line 350.96 feet to the edge of the St. Jones River thence continuing the same course about 50.00 feet to the center of the said St. Jones River thence following the various wanderings and meanderings of the center of the St. Jones River home to the place of beginning be the contents what-so-ever they may.

The lands so acquired shall be used as sites for State buildings and for State grounds.

Section 3. The title to the lands and premises acquired by purchase or gift under the provisions of this Act shall be taken in the name of the, The State of Delaware.

In the case of lands and premises or easements owned by or held for the use of The City of Dover, the Council of said City are hereby empowered to consent to the gift or sale thereof to The State of Delaware, and a deed executed and acknowledged by the Mayor of said City and attested by the Clerk or Secretary of Council conveying to The State of Delaware the said lands and premises or the easements therein shall be deemed and held to vest in The State of Delaware an absolute title in fee simple thereto.

Section 4. Whenever the said Commission cannot agree with the owner of any of the lands and premises or easements described in this Act and desired by the said Commission for the purposes of this Act, for the purchase thereof the said Commission may apply for and in the name of The State of Delaware to any judge of The State of Delaware not a member of the Commission of The State of Delaware for the condemnation thereof, first giving seven days' notice in writing of the intended application to such owner if known and if within the State; if such owner is absent from or a non-resident of the State, or is unknown or is under legal disability and has no legal representative present in the State, publication of such notice shall be made in at least one issue of some newspaper published in Kent County at least seven days prior to the date of such intended application, and such publication shall be sufficient notice thereof. Upon application made as aforesaid the said Judge shall appoint five judicious and impartial freeholders of Kent County to view the premises or ascertain the easement and assess the damages which the owner or owners will sustain by reason of the taking of the same, and to make return of their findings within such period as the said judge shall determine. The freeholders shall be sworn or affirmed before some officer authorized to administer oaths or affirmations, before entering on the premises or before ascertaining the easement, faithfully and impartially to perform the duties assigned them. They shall give seven days' notice in writing of the time of their meeting to view the premises or ascertain the easement to the said Commission and to the owner of the lands and easements proposed to be condemned if known and if within the State; if such owner is absent from or a non-resident of the State, or is unknown or is under legal disability and has no legal representative present in the State, publication of such notice shall be made in at least one issue of some newspaper published in Kent County at least ten days prior to the date of the time of their meeting for the purpose aforesaid, and such publication shall be sufficient notice thereof.

The said freeholders shall meet at the time appointed and shall view the premises and/or ascertain the easement proposed to be condemned and shall hear the owner and his witnesses, if present, and the Commission and their witnesses, if present. The said freeholders shall ascertain and assess the damages that the owner will sustain by reason of the taking of his land and/or easement, and shall return a record of their proceedings with their findings or award to the Prothonotary of Kent County according to the order or instructions of the judge by whom they were appointed. Either the Commission or the said owner being dissatisfied with the findings or award of the said freeholders, may within seven days after the return of the freeholders as aforesaid apply to the judge who appointed the said freeholders to appoint another set of freeholders to award damages, and thereupon the said judge shall appoint five other judicious and impartial freeholders of Kent County to view the premises or ascertain the easement and assess the damages which the owner will sustain by reason of the taking of the same, and to make return of their findings within such period as the said judge shall determine. If the applicant be the owner of the lands or easement sought to be condemned, he shall give at least five days' notice in writing of his intended application to the Commission, and if the applicant be the said Commission they shall give or publish notice to the owner of the lands or easement, as hereinbefore prescribed with respect to the notice of the application for condemnation, except that the time for the giving or publishing of said notice shall be at least five days prior to the application to the judge for the appointment of the second set of freeholders. The second set of freeholders appointed as aforesaid shall be severally sworn or affirmed as hereinbefore prescribed with respect to the first set of freeholders, and all the foregoing provisions as to the duties of the first set of freeholders shall be deemed to apply to the second set of freeholders precisely as if the said provisions were here repeated in detail as to the said second set of freeholders. The findings or award of the second set of freeholders shall be final. If no application for a second set of freeholders be made within the time hereinbefore prescribed, the findings or award of the first set of freeholders shall be final.

The amount of damages being ascertained as aforesaid, the Commission may at any time within two months after the same shall have been so ascertained, pay the amount thereof to the person or persons entitled thereto, or, if any person so entitled refuse to accept such payment or reside out of or is absent from the State at the time, or is under legal disability and has no legal representative present in the State at the time to whom the payment may be made, the damages to which such person is entitled may be deposited to his credit in The Farmers Bank of the State of Delaware at Dover within said time. Where any owner of property condemned as aforesaid is unknown, or his estate or interest therein is uncertain, or where any of the property condemned is subject to a lien, the said Commission may pay the damages into the Superior Court of The State of Delaware for Kent County, and the said Court shall upon proper application by any party in interest make such orders for the payment or distribution of the moneys so paid into the Court as the rights and interests of the parties shall appear to said Court. If damages be awarded for the taking of any lands or easements held by or for the use of The City of Dover, the same may be paid to the Treasurer of said City or be deposited in the Farmers Bank of The State of Delaware at Dover to the credit of The City of Dover.

Upon payment as aforesaid of damages awarded under any of the provisions of this Act, or upon deposit of the same in Bank as aforesaid, or upon payment thereof into Court as aforesaid, the title to the lands and/or easements for the taking of which the said damages were awarded shall immediately vest in The State of Delaware absolutely.

Each freeholder serving in condemnation proceedings under this Act shall be entitled to a fee of Five Dollars per day, which fee together with all other expenses of the condemnation proceedings shall be paid by the Commission.

Section 5. Should it be thought desirable by the said Commission to widen and/or straighten or alter any street abutting upon any of the lands acquired under the provisions of this Act, they may cause to be laid off so much and such portion of the land so acquired as they shall deem necessary or proper to effect such widening, straightening or altering, and shall cause a description thereof to be recorded in the office of the Recorder of Deeds for Kent County and State of Delaware, and thereupon the land so described shall be deemed and held to be a dedication to the public for street uses and to be under and subject to the jurisdiction of the municipal authorities having supervision over the streets of The City of Dover without any further or other act, acceptance, or consent.

Section 6. The said Commission shall cause the lands acquired under the provisions of this Act to be surveyed, laid out and beautified to the end that the same may be used for sites for State buildings to meet the needs of the State for adequate quarters for State departments, boards and commissions functioning at the State Capital, and for State grounds; and may cause any building or buildings being on said lands at the time they are acquired to be sold and removed, removed or taken down, in the discretion of the said Commission. In the event of the sale of any such building or buildings, the proceeds thereof shall be deposited in the Farmers Bank of The State of Delaware at Dover to the credit of The State of Delaware.

The said Commission shall have power to make and enter into contracts for services, labor and materials needful or proper for the purposes aforesaid or any of them, and to employ such assistants as they shall require in the performance of their duties, and may call upon any department of the State Government for assistance in carrying out the purposes of this Act.

Section 7. That the sum of Seventy Five Thousand Dollars be and the same is hereby appropriated out of the State Treasury to be paid by the State Treasurer for the purposes of this Act, and the State Treasurer is hereby authorized and directed to pay up to said sum all warrants of the said Commission signed by the Chairman or Vice-Chairman and attested by the Secretary or Acting Secretary of said Commission.

No portion of the money appropriated as aforesaid shall be deemed or held to revert at the end of any fiscal year, but the said appropriation shall remain in force until the objects and purposes of this Act have been fully accomplished. Any part of the aforesaid sum of Seventy Five Thousand Dollars remaining unexpended, at the time the work of the Commission has been concluded under the provisions of this Act, shall revert to the General Fund of the State of Delaware. When the Commission has fully completed its work under the provisions of this Act, such fact shall be promptly reported to the Governor in writing.

Section 8. That this Act shall be known as a Supplementary Appropriation Act and the funds hereby appropriated shall be paid out of the General Fund of the State Treasury not otherwise appropriated.

Approved March 29, 1945.