Aldine senior citizen may be forced out of home

School District threatens Eminent Domain to make room for Parking Lot

By David Taylor
Managing Editor

An Aldine family whose legacy in the community extends more than 100 years could get the boot from the district they have supported with their tax dollars all those years.

Travis Upchurch was notified in April that the Aldine ISD trustees had voted to pursue eminent domain action against his property at 1810 Aldine Meadows Rd. and has followed with a proposal to buy out the 79-year-old.

But his son, also named Travis, said not so fast.

“We just want them to reconsider and allow him to live out his life, then they can have the property,” he said.

The 1-acre tract stands on the edge of a soon-to-be new parking lot that will accommodate fans for the newly rebuilt $50 million W. W. Thorne Stadium.

Since he received his eminent domain notice, his son said his father now must receive treatment for high blood pressure, a condition he never suffered from before.

“Our family has lived in Aldine since 1905 and owned the property at 1810 Aldine Meadows since 1916,” his son said.

Lilja Road is named after their direct descendant who moved to the Aldine area from Sweden.

“His grandmother was the first PTA president of Aldine, and his mother ran the Mustang Café until the school banned them from eating lunch there,” he said.

She later got a job as a cafeteria manager and retired as the cafeteria manager from Aldine at Innwood Elementary.

“My father is a retired union carpenter and loves living in Aldine and likes collecting pecans from the trees planted by his grandparents,” his son said.

The elder Travis likes shelling them and giving the pecans or pecan pies as gifts.

The district has retained the services of Heidaker Land Services, Inc. to handle negotiations and communications with the Upchurch family, a spokesperson from the district said.

“These are very delicate conversations that balance community needs and individual needs,” said Mike Keeney, director of external communications at Aldine ISD.

On July 17, the district mailed an initial offer to the owner as part of the first step in the eminent domain process. The family had 30 days to respond without penalty if they did not respond.

The district agreed on Aug. 3 to extending response deadlines to their initial and final offer with no hard deadlines.

“He’s emotionally attached to the place,” his son said. “He doesn’t want to move. We’ve been working with the school district to see if we can come up with some sort of alternatives.”

Upchurch said they would be amenable to the sell of the property if the district would allow him to live out his days on the property.

“Our counter proposal to them was to consider a living estate or a first right of refusal, or a long-term lease, or something to where they get the property, but he can live there for as long as he can or wants to. At that point, it becomes theirs,” his son said.

The homestead is also the place where Upchurch cared for his cancer-stricken wife until she passed away. The ties are strong.

The family has support from the community. More than 100 supporters showed up to a recent board meeting pleading the case for the elder Upchurch.

“On August 16, a final offer letter from the district was mailed to the property owners and they will have another 14 days to respond, again without penalty if they do not respond,” Keeney said.

The property used to be part of a dairy farm; the rest sold off to the school district except for the homestead.

“The key thing is there’s other adjacent land, about 17 acres, that’s already owned by the school district, that could be paved for the parking lot, but they’re saying this single acre is what is needed. They’re trying to put him out because of a parking lot,” Upchurch said, shaking his head.

To date, no eminent domain proceedings have been filed at this time.

“We have continued to negotiate with the Upchurch family,” Keeney said in a statement.

Upchurch said he would be back in front of the school board at their next meeting with hopes of a resolution that would be satisfactory to all.

To speak and make a public comment to the school board, please copy and click on this link:

The next board meeting is scheduled on Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. at 2520 W. W. Thorne Dr. The public is welcome to make a comment directly to the school board at the meeting.


  1. We have been Aldine ISD taxpayers for over 25 years. I am ashamed of the move to take the Upchurch property by eminent domain. Mr. Upchurch and his family ask only he be allowed to live out his life on the property that has been in his family for over 100 years. We feel that granting this family’s request is how the district should be handling the matter, treating people/taxpayers with consideration and respect, providing an example to our students.

  2. I’m his daughter and would just like to make it known that we’re going to keep fighting with Aldine ISD over this if they keep pressing the matter. We remain hopeful, but cautious.

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