The Cleveland Board of Aldermen unanimously approved the closure at its regular meeting on Tuesday.
“I thought it was a lot,” said Alderman Paul Janoush.
“I think there was some confusion but it is definitely an unplatted alley,” reported city attorney Jamie Jacks, who sought a Mississippi Attorney General’s opinion on the issue.
“You have two choices — closing the alley or not closing the alley,” said Jacks. “It’s been temporary closed for construction but I think they’ve moved in.”
“They’ve been temporarily eating out of there,” commented Janoush, as those in the boardroom chuckled.
“Are we losing title to the property,” asked Alderman Kirkham Povall.
“Well we do,” replied Jacks, who added the property then goes to the adjacent landowner.
“Typically, we would look to land owner to see if there are damages which of course Mr. (Raymond) Huerta doesn’t have any damages only benefits,” said Jacks.
Jacks said once the alley was closed, the city would not be able to take it back. “The AG’s office was pretty clear we couldn’t have a contingency in there.”
However, city engineer Greg Korb said a storm drain runs underground through the alley and the city would need to maintain a utility and right-of-way easement.
Cleveland Fire Inspector Gene Bishop was asked about fire protection and using the alley for fire trucks.
“He has gates on both ends. Raymond is not supposed to be locking those gates and as long as he doesn’t put anything there to block the entrances, we should be able to get in there if there is a fire,” said Bishop.
Before voting comments were made on all the activities which have been planned for the alley, including the Cleveland Farmer’s Market and Art In the Alley.