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:

• Unanimously approved a contract with Destin’s ballpark concessionaire, which would provide concession services at Crestview’s Durell Lee and Twin Hills Park sports fields. Crestview’s Parks and Recreation Department has been providing concession services.

• Unanimously approved a three-year contract with the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society, better known as PAWS, to provide animal control services to the city.

• Unanimously approved two outstanding ordinances repealing firearms restrictions in city codes, bringing the ordinances in line with a state mandate that prohibits local municipalities from enacting local firearms regulations.

• Unanimously approved an amendment to the city’s comprehensive plan that will eliminate public school and transportation concurrency impact fees.

• Unanimously appointed Councilman Charles Baugh Jr. as the city’s civic government representative to the county Emergency Operations Center. councilwoman Robyn Helt was unanimously appointed the alternate representative.

• Unanimously approved the city’s sponsorship of the annual Veterans Day parade, which will be held 10 a.m. Nov. 10 on Main Street.