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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Who owns the park in Purdy?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Purdy School Superintendent Jerry Lingo, standing at center, reviewed an aerial photograph of the school grounds with school board members. Deeds owned by the school district suggest the school owns much more of the city park than was previously known. A survey was authorized to resolve the question. Looking on, in addition to Jeff Swadley, elementary principal, standing at left, are board members Ken Terry, Ronnie Veith, Kelly Hayes and President Randy Henderson. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]
For years there has apparently been an unresolved question over how much land around the Purdy public school complex is owned by the school and how much is owned by the city. The matter has been left dangling with neither side particularly interested in resolving the matter until now.

At the June meeting of the Purdy R-2 Board of Education, surveyor Sam Goodman was hired to resolve the question.

City Clerk Debbie Redshaw recalls running across a reference in old city records where the Purdy City Council voted to let the school district use the south half of the city park. No further details were found. Former Mayor David Redshaw made inquiries at one point to resolve the question but found no answers.

The city has functioned on the premise that the park is city property and has paid for maintenance over the years. More of the school property may belong to the city as well, Clerk Redshaw speculated, but no one knows.

The Purdy School Board has been looking at its property holdings, partly in an effort to resolve the question of who owns the old McDowell school building, which is still used for the popular McDowell hootenannies. When the McDowell School was consolidated into the Purdy R-2 School District, the old school property may have been transferred as well.

Board President Randy Henderson reported that does not seem to have happened. The last action on the books occurred in 1981. At that time, the building showed the McDowell School Association was the owner.

"County records are all in the name of the McDowell School Association, whatever that is," Henderson said.

Previous school board members vaguely recalled some action by the school board regarding the property, but no records could be found. The major concern was over whether the school district had liability regarding the property. Since no legal link could be found, board members seemed content with leaving the McDowell matter alone.

The city park, however, was a different matter. Records and deeds in the hands of the school district showed the only land clearly owned by the city was the 150-foot-by 158-foot northwest corner, where the railroad caboose stands.

"It looks like even the community building is on our property," said Superintendent Jerry Lingo.

Board members looked at a recent aerial photograph with interest. It appeared the old rodeo grounds might be school property and 50 feet behind the "old rock wall" on the southwest corner of the campus, which might make a good parking lot, said board member Kelly Hayes.

Having the deeds and the aerial photograph needed for research, the board voted to hired surveyor Sam Goodman to measure the grounds and pursue a title search to resolve ownership. No estimate was available on how long the process might take.

City officials welcomed the news that the property question would finally be resolved. If the city ended up owning land on which the school had been built, Mayor Ron Dutra said he was not going to be responsible for polishing the gym floor.

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