A Clay County official said the building belongs to an organization he heads, but records of the group’s existence can’t be found.
What seems to be a mystery building is actually a public community center, located on Carver Street in Lineville. The scene of a stabbing incident involving a high school student on Dec. 31, the structure has been a nuisance for years, according to Lineville Police Chief Monty Giddens.
At the most recent Lineville City Council meeting on Jan. 3, Giddens brought to the body’s attention the problems he said he has faced with repeated disturbance calls involving fights at the center. He asked for guidance in coming to a resolution with the building’s owners.
But the biggest problem of all might be figuring out who those owners are.
Efforts by an Anniston Star reporter to determine the property’s owners have met a stone wall, as various Lineville officials declined to provide more than cursory details.
The office of the Clay County Revenue Commissioner said the building and land on Carver Street are the property of Clay County Board of Education. Speaking with The Star last week, superintendent of schools Gary Reynolds said the board doesn’t regulate or monitor the building and efforts to find records indicating the board bought the property have been fruitless.
Another Clay County official, however, said he’s looking after the building.
Last week, Clay County Commissioner Rickey Burney told The Star he was the chairman of the board of directors for the organization “Community Recreation Project” which also included Clay County Board of Education member Arthur Oliver and Lineville City Councilman Johnny Appleby. Burney said the organization runs the community center and he regularly rents out the building to residents for birthday parties, wedding showers and community events. Fees to use the building, Burney said, are all turned back into restoration for the building.
The office of the probate judge in Clay County, however, said there wasn’t any record of the group’s existence, although workers there did volunteer they believed Burney was the owner of the building.
When asked about the organization’s status by The Star, Burney declined comment.
“It’s a community building, used by the people,” Burney said. “I don’t have any more comments on that.”
When reached by phone on Wednesday, Councilman Appleby declined to give information about the organization and deferred comment to Burney. Appleby said the board would hold a meeting Friday afternoon at a private residence which will not be open to the public. When asked by The Star what would be discussed at the meeting, Appleby hung up.
Education board member Oliver similarly declined to comment about the community center or the organization when reached by The Star.
Lineville Mayor Roy Adamson asked Appleby at the City Council meeting last week to set up a meeting between the board of directors, the Police Department and the council in order to clear up communication among the organizations. Appleby said he was happy to comply, but said it might be awhile before all parties involved could find a time to sit down and come to a resolution regarding the building.
Star staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546