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Lot hearing draws light crowd

A city hearing about lot cleanup was sparsely attended Tuesday night, and one person summoned to the hearing offered to donate his property to the city.

     Luke Arrington, the owner of a dilapidated building on Railroad Avenue between Outreach Ministries and Boyd Steel, had received a lot cleanup notice. He expressed an interest in simply donating the property to the city. He said he’s tried to sell the property and been unable to do so.

     “It’s of no use to me or my family,” Arrington said.

     Arrington assured board members the building remains in good shape structurally.

     “The building is as sound as could be; it’s the tin that’s gone,” Arrington said.

     Ward Six Alderman David Phillips expressed concern about environmental issues on the site that the city would be responsible to clean if it accepted the property as is.

     City attorney Joe Fernald said an appraisal and a preliminary environmental study would need to be done before the city could discuss receiving the donated property.

     Aldermen did not take up the donation offer in Tuesday night’s board meeting. Until they decide to accept or reject the donation offer, the request that Arrington clean the lot remains in limbo.

     Twenty-one notices had been mailed to owners of property the city wants cleaned. Those that attended the meeting were given 45 days to complete cleaning their lots. Those that did not attend the hearing were given a final period of about 30 days to complete cleaning.

     In either case, if the lot is not cleaned, a city work crew will clean it and bill the owner of the lot for cleanup costs.

     Aside from Arrington, only about three property owners attended the meeting, and one of those had received a summons in error.