A Jackson County property dispute will likely have to be settled in court. The issue is over a boat ramp in Sneads that has had more than half a dozen owners since it was built in the1970's.
The public had the access to the ramp a majority of time it's been open. People in Jackson County have been using the ramp to get to the Apalachicola River for years. But new property ownership may threaten the ramp's open access.
The complicated issue boils down to a question of ownership. Who owns Gadsden Trail, the road that leads to the boat ramp, and the ramp itself? NKWH Limited Partnership said, they own it and the roughly 58 acres surrounding it. But, Jackson County officials claimed the road and ramp was theirs. They said they've been maintaining the area for a number of years.
Recently, NKWH erected a concrete barrier on Gadsden Trail to keep people off the property. When Jackson County road crews tore the block down, the issue got heated.
"We were instructed by the Board of County Commissioners to remove the barrier" said Jackson County Road and Bridge Superintendent, Al Green.
NKWH's Attorney, Guyte McCord claimed, his client owned the boat basin because it was not a direct part of the Apalachicola River. He also said the ramp was not located on Gadsden Trail, but off a dirt road that hardly appeared maintained. County officials disagreed.
"After a certain period of time, if the public uses it, accesses it, and it's maintained by a governmental entity, then it becomes public property. We have maintained all of that and yes, we do have documents showing that" Green said.
NKWH filed the lawsuit against Jackson County about a month ago. Officials said mediation should begin soon. Jackson County Attorney, Frank Baker will not cover the case and declined to comment.