Attorney to negotiate alley solution

Alatex alley

This alley between the former Alatex Building, left, and the rear entrances to several Main Street businesses, is under dispute between the city and descendants of the properties' original owner.

BRIAN HUGHES | News Bulletin
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 03:21 PM.

CRESTVIEW — At its Monday evening meeting, the City Council gave approval to city attorney Jerry Miller to enter into negotiations with members of the late Purl G. Adams’ family in an effort “to find an amiable settlement” in a dispute over ownership of an alleyway next to the former, historic Alatex Building.

According to the “Crestview: The Forkland” history book by Betty Curenton and Claudia Patten, Adams donated the land, on which the former sewing factory was built, to the city in the 1930s. The brick building on the corner of Woodruff Avenue and Wilson Street once housed city government and the police department concurrent with sewing operations in the rest of the building.

Today, it houses a Florida A&M University pharmacy school. The alley in dispute serves Main Street businesses that occupy buildings originally owned by Adams. Some are still owned by his daughter-in-law, Barbara Adams, and his grandson, Purl Adams III, who claim the alley is part of their property, noting the Alatex Building didn’t have a door to the alley until the FAMU refurbishment.

The alley has since been renovated by FAMU, which believed it had acquired the right-of-way when the city turned over the Alatex Building to the university. Today, a new paved walk runs the alley’s length, sodded on either side, and new walkways have been laid to the rear doors of the block’s Main Street businesses.

Miller reported that the dispute is not unusual, noting “litigation happens in the judicial system.” However, he said, he has had “a meaningful conversation with the counsel for the claimant” and believes a mutually satisfactory solution can be found.

“There are certain complexities that relate to the claim,” Miller reported to the council. “What I understood the claim was has grown as time goes by.”
Miller requested the council’s approval to negotiate a solution with the Adams’ attorney. Councilman Thomas Gordon so moved, seconded by Councilman Tim Grandberry. The motion passed unanimously.

In other matters, the council:

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