After a four day trial over condemnation of Collinsville properties for a shopping center with a Wal-Mart store, Madison County Associate Judge Ralph Mendelsohn faces his biggest decision ever.

Homeowners want Mendelsohn to declare that Collinsville acted improperly in classifying their properties as blight.

Illinois law allows municipalities to condemn blighted properties and combine them into large parcels for redevelopment.

The dispute fell to an associate judge because property owners filed it as a petition for miscellaneous relief rather than a civil action.

The trial began Dec. 19. It ended Dec. 27.

Mendelsohn told attorneys he needed briefs and proposed orders by Jan. 16.

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