Lincoln Residents Discover The City Doesn’t Own Town Square

LINCOLN, Ark. (KFSM) — Lincoln residents recently discovered the downtown square and the community building does not belong to the city.

“Family dinners and get togethers, dances and everything else,” Lincoln resident Jerry Murray said about how the community building is used.

Murray’s family has had Rocky’s Trading Post on the Lincoln Square for more than 30 years. He like many other lifetime Lincoln residents were surprised to hear the center of their town isn’t owned by the city.

“My thoughts, whoever is the upkeep on it you know, and they’ve been having city get togethers there for years, so I figured it would be in the city’s interest,” Murray said.

The square and community building is the center of the Lincoln Apple Festival and countless other events throughout the year. City officials say who actually owns this land and building is up in the air.

“We have the keys, we have the water, the trash. We’ve paid the insurance on the building, so I don’t think it would’ve occurred to anybody that the square wasn’t ours legally,” said Lincoln city attorney Steve Zega.

Zega says the issue was discovered when a city councilman was doing research for an ordinance and clicked on the assessors map to see the city didn’t own it.

The last deed is from the early 1900s when Paul Easby owned the land and a large portion of the land in the town. He deeded a lot of the land he owned to J.W. Rodgers.

“He didn’t specifically include block one of the town sight which is the square but there was a provision in his deed that said, the purpose of this deed is to convey everything I own in Lincoln. That’s one of the points of confusion on this,” Zega said.

Zega says he filed an action in Washington County Circuit Court to determine ownership. While they wait, the city will continue to pay all the bills for the square and community building like they have for decades.

The City of Lincoln says it's hoping that after the month waiting period a judge will sign an order saying that the city owns the square.

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