Deals Reached to Sell Land for Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset

Article excerpt

Chris Williams had her doubts, but a last-minute deal to sell the land she and her husband own in Somerset County avoided the necessity of the government seizing it for the Flight 93 National Memorial.

Chris and Dale Williams and four other landowners had until Friday to strike a deal with the National Park Service for approximately 160 acres in the area where Flight 93 crashed after being hijacked by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001. The government vowed to take the land through eminent domain if the deadline was not met.

The Ruffsdale couple's six-acre property includes a log cabin, which the family used for weekend retreats.

"We got not quite 70 percent of what we wanted," said Chris Williams.

She said negotiations on Wednesday went better than expected.

"I couldn't believe it," Williams said. "I went in apprehensive. We're pleased."

The government also reached an agreement with Tim Lambert of Aliquippa, who also owns six acres near the crash site.

Lambert, a radio newsman in Harrisburg, said he reached "an unofficial agreement" with the government Thursday.

Lambert owns 163 of the 2,200 acres the national memorial park eventually will encompass. He said the remaining 157 acres he owns will be purchased by the Families of Flight 93.

Lambert said the deal on the six acres he owns closest to the crash site was never in doubt because he always intended to donate the land. He will donate the proceeds from the sale to the family group for the memorial, he said.

Lambert said the Park Service offer on the six acres was "very generous." He added he probably "left money on the table" with the other acreage, but that was fine.

Lambert said he's glad the matter has finally been thrashed out. …