Air Force offers $5.2m for Groom Mine near Area 51 site

Air Force offers $5.2m for Groom Mine near Area 51 site

The US Air Force is giving an ultimatum to the owners of a remote Nevada property now surrounded by a vast bombing range including the super-secret Area 51...

Take a $5.2million 'last best offer' by Thursday for their property, or the government will seize it.

The answer: No, at least for now.

The owners, who trace their mining and mineral claims to the 1870s, include descendants of a couple who lost their hardscrabble mining enterprise after the Air Force moved in in the 1940s.

Nuclear tests then began in 1951, their mine mill mysteriously exploded in 1954 and they ran out of money to seek reparations from the government in 1959.

'What they really want to buy is our property, our access rights and our view,' said Joseph Sheahan, 54, who has led the fight with his cousin, Barbara Sheahan Manning, on behalf of about 20 owners.

Both live in Henderson, Nevada.

'We prefer to keep our property, but it's for sale under the right price at the right conditions,' Sheahan said.

'Why don't they ask themselves what it cost my family over the years in blood, sweat, tears and money?'

The two sides are far apart. And they know condemnation proceedings would lead to a 'fair market value' determination that could end up in court for a long time.

The federal government gradually encircled the mine property - totaling fewer than 400 acres - near Las Vegas, making it a private island reachable today only by passing armed guards at gateposts.

The surrounding secure 4,500-square-mile reservation for nuclear testing, military training and other research is almost twice the area of the state of Delaware.

Read More: Daily Mail Online
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