Ozark Sues Railroad Over Road That’s Been Blocked For 13 Years

OZARK (KFSM)- The town of Ozark in Franklin County has filed a lawsuit against a railroad company, saying a local road was blocked for the last 13 years without their permission.

City officials said the company ripped up and blocked a road along the Arkansas River without their consent. It’s a road block that officials said has been going on for more than a decade, they said.

Oliver Street can be found on a map.

“On that blue print, it actually shows Oliver Street. It shows it as a gravel road coming down the railroad tracks,” Ozark city attorney Christopher Brockett said.

City officials said the street was taken over by the Union Pacific Railroad during construction years ago and hasn’t been seen since.

Brockett said he filed suit Monday (Aug. 11). Brockett said the railroad is blocking a public crossing.

“They’ve illegally closed and removed city property,” Brockett said.

Officials said the remains of Oliver Street can still be seen along the Arkansas River when it was removed back in 2001.

Brockett hopes a marina could be developed in that area.

“Put our crossing back, repave our Oliver Street and road, and then pay us damages for the failure of us being able to use it and develop it,” Brockett said.

Brockett said the damages could cost around $70,000.

Union Pacific Railroad officials told 5NEWS the company has received the complaint and legal representatives are looking into it.

Those with the company said as soon as they have reviewed the complaint, they will decide if they need to release a public statement.

4 comments

  • Happy Dad

    This seriously sounds like a shakedown by the city. Typically, cities let you know relatively quickly when you are no compliant. Example: if you fail to take care/mow your yard, dump trash/on your yard, dump chemicals or waste on your property, or build houses without permits, and you’ll very likely get a notice from the city.

    13 years??? Was no notice given? Was it ignored? Is there not a statute timeframe for the wrongdoing? Anyone know tort law for Arkansas? Any written contracts have a statute of limitations of 5 years, 3 years if oral. Class Y and A felonies: 6 yrs.; Class B, C, D, or unclassified felonies: 3 yrs. (criminal)

    • Ted

      This is a long running battle between the railroad and city that the city has been losing (mainly because without a lawsuit the railroad has been able to ignore Ozark). Even if the city were to get a street across the railroad they’d have to go through the Army Corps of Engineers to build a transfer boat dock on the north side of the river. The actual marina would be located on the south side of the river. Presumably people coming from the river would “eat, spend money, go antiquing” and create 187.8 jobs. It’s an interesting problem though Ozark’s hopes for this spit of land they want to access are wildly unrealistic.

  • Faith

    The ones who owns what is blocked off want to sell it but can’t because it isn’t accessible. I wouldn’t be surprised if Chris Brockett is swinging this on his fathers or someone elses behalf. Everyone knows that the water is terrible and the land will never successfully support a marina where they are claiming to want it. I would look to who actually wants to sell/buy it. People who grew up there and those who live there now in no way think this will bring in jobs, more people and money.

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