Just like how the Counting Crows song goes, “they paved a 78-year-old man’s home and put up a parking lot.”
This Texas school board is at least trying to do that, though Travis Upchurch isn’t going to go down without a fight. The Texas school district is attempting to use eminent domain to take over the Upchurch family home, where the 78-year-old has lived for 46 years. The house itself has actually stayed in the family since 1905.
The Aldine Independent School District is building a $50 million dollar football complex, and they are hoping to extend the football field’s parking lot area to where the Upchurch home currently stands.
The school district offered to buy the property last year and Travis and his family rejected the offer, so now they are leaning into the legal power of eminent domain so they can hopefully absorb the home and its land without the concession of the Upchurch family (though they would still be required to compensate the Upchurch’s for it).
At a school board meeting on Tuesday, Travis Upchurch’s daughter Tara pleaded to the board, saying:
“I want you to understand what the significance of this place is for my father. It is where he played as a child with his grandparents, where he woke up at 4 a.m. to milk cows, it’s where he spent 39 years happily married to my mom, and it’s where he raised a family, and it’s a place we never thought he would leave.”
The family knew that the school would one day buy the property, but they hoped that they wouldn’t try to do so while he was still living there. And as it turns out, the school board moved forward with eminent domain authorization back in April, and the process to take over the property has officially started as of this week.
“I cried. I don’t know. I think my dad cried a little bit, too. It’s a shock. He’s comfortable here. He loves his house. To lose this, it’s hard. It’s a sentimental place for us.”
And in a legendary quote from the 78-year-old Travis Upchurch, the homeowner took a cheap shot (and a warranted one at that) at the school and its new football field, saying:
“If they need it, I could see it, but they don’t ever fill up the stadium when they have football games.”
Going out swinging…
In a statement regarding the decision to take over the Upchurch family home, the Aldine Independent School District said:
“We recognize that these are very delicate conversations that balance community needs and individual needs. It is our practice to purchase properties for district use at a fair and reasonable price before any eminent domain proceeding is initiated. The property owners rejected Aldine ISD’s initial request to purchase the property in the spring of 2022.”
I don’t see an apology in there Aldine ISD…
Here’s to hoping that Travis Upchurch finds a new place to live out his mustached life, or they can somehow relocate his home if the timeline of the parking lot takeover can be delayed.
The news story covering the proceedings can be viewed below: