The Red Barn Flea Market has been slowly growing in Waxahachie since 2012.
“It might not be the prettiest place in town, but we’ve got the best stuff!” said owner Nelda Brown with a laugh.
She said its items, shoppers and sellers are as diverse as Waxahachie.
“We suit from low income to high income,” Brown said. Her building is now home to 85 vendors and many of them depend on it.
“It’s not just, you know, something fun we’re all doing,” Brown said. “I mean this is my livelihood. This is my income.”
But because of eminent domain, everything she and her husband have worked to build could all be going away.
“Okay, we’re right here,” Ross Brown, Nelda Brown’s husband, said while pointing to a map hanging at the store’s entrance. “And this is where the bridge is going.”
He’s pointing to a draft of a construction plan that could makeover their livelihood—because just outside Red Barn’s entrance, is where US 77 is getting an upgrade.
Michelle Raglon, a public information officer for TxDOT Dallas District, said in an email to NBC5 that the project will start in late 2019 and end in late 2020-2021.
TxDOT needs the Red Barn property to make this road project possible. Brown said the state made her an offer to buy her out.
“I can’t disclose the amount I was offered, but it was not enough to touch the mortgage that I have,” Brown said. “It was a slap in the face is what it really was.”
Brown and her husband took this old building, fixed it up, and made it a community jewel where people hunt for antique treasures. Now, they wait and fight to keep it.
Raglon’s email stated, “TxDOT continues to meet with property owners and elected officials during final design. Engineers are looking at ways to minimize the need for right of way on this project – a process that the department undertakes on all of its projects. If property is acquired, property owners will receive compensation and relocation assistance. Property owners will also have an opportunity to appeal an offer.”
Raglon’s full email, which includes information to help explain their process, how the US 77 project has progressed with approval from the City of Waxahachie and others, and how TxDOT continues to work with property owners is included here:
“TxDOT worked for years with representatives from the city and community to develop the project. That effort included several stakeholder and public meetings that provided public involvement throughout the planning process. The project received environmental clearance and approval in March 2017, allowing final design and construction to begin.
The project will replace the existing bridge, build a new bridge and install pieces of the old bridge in a new park plaza that will be created as part of the project. The department worked with multiple entities in the last few years to get an agreed upon project. That includes the City of Waxahachie, the State Historic Preservation and Texas Historic Commission, as well as the general public.
TxDOT continues to meet with property owners and elected officials during final design. Engineers are looking at ways minimize the need for right of way on this project – a process that the department undertakes on all of its projects.
If property is acquired, property owners will receive compensation and relocation assistance. Property owners will also have an opportunity to appeal an offer.
There is information on www.keepitmovingdallas.com that details information about the project’s history.”