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Springfield City Council votes for eminent domain in Hotel of Terror case

The Hotel of Terror in downtown Springfield
Gregory Holman/KSMU
Springfield city government is trying to use eminent domain to acquire the Hotel of Terror — photographed Feb. 6, 2023 — as part of its plans to spiff up the Jordan Creek area in order to attract downtown investment and address stormwater flooding issues.

Springfield City Council voted unanimously on Monday night to approve eminent domain procedures that would allow the city to acquire the beloved Hotel of Terror building.

It’s a controversial move for City Council: Eminent domain would allow the city to force a sale of the Hotel of Terror property, a beloved Halloween destination downtown since 1978. The city wants the land as part of plans to improve the Jordan Creek area.

But City Councilman Andy Lear explained that allowing eminent domain doesn’t mean there’s no chance of a deal with Hotel of Terror’s owner.

Lear said, “If this is to happen, either through negotiation or ultimately through the use of a third party and ultimately the courts, that the city will not be taking this without giving fair value, and it’s certainly our hope and my hope that the negotiations continue and those, and this is never put into place. But this action tonight is not a forcing of any such event, it's simply, it’s putting in place so the entire project stays on track.”

Dozens of Hotel of Terror supporters turned out for the meeting and left immediately after the vote in favor of eminent domain.

Gregory Holman is a KSMU reporter and editor focusing on public affairs and investigations.