Texas school board invokes eminent domain, could raze century-old family home to build parking lot


A public school district in Texas is pursing an eminent domain process to remove a 78-year-old man from the home that his family has owned for more than a century in order to build a high school football stadium parking lot.

“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 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,” Tara Upchurch said Tuesday at an Aldine Independent School District school board meeting, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Tara is the daughter of 78-year-old homeowner Travis Upchurch, who has lived at a property in Aldine for 46 years. Travis is a fourth-generation resident of the town, with his home remaining within his family since 1905.

Aldine ISD is planning to build a $50 million football field and parking lot on his property and is using eminent domain options after the Upchurch family rejected an initial offer to purchase the property last year, KPRC reported. Eminent domain allows the government to acquire private property for public use.

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Home in Texas seen from street

A school district wants to buy this home in Aldine, Texas, to build a parking lot and is using eminent domain options to get it. (Google Maps )

“If they need it, I could see it, but they don’t ever fill up the stadium when they have football games,” Travis quipped while speaking to KPRC.

The father and his two children, Tara and her brother, Travis, have been urging the school district to drop actions to acquire the land and are hoping they can change the minds of school board members as they hash out construction plans.

“I’m really proud of both of them,” Travis said of his children.

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The school trying to take possession of the land at this time came as a shock to the family, according to Tara, who said she believed the school would one day buy the property but not while her father still lived there.

“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,” she said.

planned football stadium artist rendering

A model of a stadium Aldine ISD has begun constructing in Texas. (Aldine ISD)

The school board authorized using eminent domain in April and officially launched the process this week, the Houston Chronicle reported.

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“We recognize that these are very delicate conversations that balance community needs and individual needs,” an Aldine ISD statement provided to Fox News Digital said. “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.”

high school seen from street, bus in front

An Aldine ISD school building in Texas. (Google Maps )

The stadium itself broke ground in January and is expected to open in August 2024. The facility will hold 10,000 people and replace an old stadium built in 1979.

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Aldine, which has a population of roughly 16,000 people, is located in Harris County about 10 miles from Houston.



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