Judge determines value of Flight 93 crash site

Rich Lord Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Ending a four and a half year court fight, U.S. District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose has set  the value of the 275-acre Flight 93 crash site in Stonycreek at $1,535,000 — far less than the $23 million sought by the prior owner.

Judge Ambrose last week adopted the findings of a three-expert commission she appointed to review Svonavec Inc.’s challenge to the Department of Interior’s initial payment of $611,000, made after it condemned the site.

Flight 93 was the fourth plane hijacked on September 11, 2001, and its crash during a struggle between the passengers and terrorists made Stonycreek a pilgrimage site. Michael Svonavec, owner of the company that owned the land, had planned to turn it into a museum and visitor’s center.

The Department of the Interior opted to take the land and turn it over to the National Park Service. Svonavec Inc. then sued. Judge Ambrose’s decision closes that lawsuit.

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