One of the holdups in purchasing the Matthews Street property eyed for one of two proposed new schools is the discovery of an old deed that shows Clark Avenue cutting across a portion of it.
The street no longer crosses the plot, but that doesn’t change the legal right of way that shows a swath of roadway there.
City Attorney Dale Clift said the problem is that the city never formally abandoned the section of the street that cuts through the land.
That’s an issue that has to be hammered out before the city can finish the purchase of the property, Clift said.
A public hearing is slated for Thursday, Feb. 19 at City Hall to review the plan to abandon the right of way, which will need the blessing of the City Council.
Officials admit it’s sort of odd to require the city to abandon its claim on the right of way so that the city itself can go forward with the land buy.
But the reason is that the roadway goes through a portion of the lot at the corner of Matthews Street and Clark Avenue that will remain in private hands once the deal is complete.
The homeowner at the corner wants to stay put and keep 1.5 acres around the historic house, officials said.
Without taking care of the abandoned road issue, said city Councilor Mike Rimcoski, “We’re not ready to move ahead.”
Given all the legal complexities of the deals to buy the Matthews Street and former Crowley Auto dealership in Forestville, Mayor Art Ward said city leaders “should be awarded master’s degrees when we’re done with this.”
The city plans to build two 900-student schools by 2015, with the state picking up 74 percent of the tab. They would house students from kindergarten to eighth grade.
The purchase of the Crowley land on Pine Street is also on hold, officials said, as legal issues are dealt with.
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