Who Owns Wayside Park?

Vernon- The city of Vernon has been involved in a dispute over land that's generally considered a public park. For over 40 years people have used grounds and boat launch at Wayside Park on Holmes Creek. A local man claimed he owned the property, but said he was not blocking the public access to it.

Vernon City Attorney, Kerry Adkison said some of his best childhood memories were created at Wayside Park. "I swam in that creek all my life. I used that park- launched off of that boat ramp"

But Adkison told us a nearby business owner was threatening the public access to the park. Holmes Creek Canoe Livery owner, Hal Kirk has been claiming to own the property.

"Mr. Kirk at this time is placing barriers around the park and boat ramp. Our position on this is, he doesn't own that property" Adkison said.

Kirk told News Channel 7 Thursday that he built the six foot privacy fence to hide the park's rundown appearance. He also said he had a land survey done that proved he owned the land.

"My lawyers looked it over and she said all they argued was the park and not closing the boat ramp" Kirk said. "I don't want to close the boat ramp. I like the people that use the boat ramp- some of them. I have problems with some of them."

Kirk said he just wanted to ensure his customers had a safe time, and fun time. "I had a problem with loud music. I call it, 'spank your momma' music. It's not fit for a child to hear and I'm not going to have it in here if I can keep it out of here.'"

But city officials maintained, regulating the music was not Kirk's problem because it was not Kirk's land.

"We've already been to a hearing on this. Public funds were used to build the park so he cannot own something constructed by public funds."

A judge placed an injunction on Kirk preventing the barriers, but the issue was still not resolved. The next court hearing is set for Tuesday at the Washington County Courthouse.


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