About six months after the city of Anderson gave notice their house was in the way of a major road project, Rhonda Hogue and her family say the amount the city is offering won’t pay for a new house.

Though no formal offer has yet been made, city officials confirmed an estimate of $40,000 to $45,000.

“Everything we’ve looked at is $59,000, $61,000, $66,000,” Hogue said. “We can’t find anything at that price.”

Hogue, 46, a meat wrapper at Pay Less grocery store and live-in boyfriend Tom Lehman, a 49-year-old carpenter, live with Hogue’s 17-year-old daughter Juanita in a little green house at 110 W. 17th Street.

The city wants to build a curve to connect the multi-million-dollar Martin Luther King Boulevard repaving project and businesses downtown, but the house is in the way.

Tuesday, the couple attended the meeting of the Anderson Redevelopment Commission, the body paying for the road project, to protest the takeover.

Hogue and Lehman said they’ve gotten one visit from a real estate agent sent by the city, who took them looking at neighborhoods they’d rather not live in.

City officials say the $450,000 curve project, to be paid for with tax increment financing money, is important for economic development.

“Cars tend to stop at that turn,” Deputy Economic Development Director Linda Dawson said. “We want to create a boulevard effect,”

Instead of stopping, the city wants the traffic to come downtown, shop, and spend money.

“Does this mean we have to give up the house for those businesses to profit?” Lehman said.

While Dawson argued the project would benefit the whole city, assistant city attorney Charlie Braddock confirmed that yes, the city does have the right to take the house.

But city officials said they do want to help Hogue and Lehman find a new, satisfactory place to live.

Dawson said they could put the money into a new house or take a check, and Mayor Kevin Smith also offered encouragement.

“I think you’ll get some favorable returns,” he told the couple.

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