LINDEN, Mo- Five people are taking Christian County and a family responsible for a gate closing the Lindenlure access to Findley River to court.
A gate was put up on Canyon Road in March of 2020 by Mike and Carla Adams.
The new lawsuit, David Romano says, asks for an injunction to remove the gate while the group wanting to reopen the road gives evidence that Canyon Road has been public since it first opened nearly 100 years ago.
“We’re first of all asking for the injunction that while we debate the whole thing in court, that the gate be removed so that the Throtons and Belks can access their land,” says Romano.
Joan and Stephen Thorton, and James Belk are landowners in the area but can no longer access their land because of the gate. The Thortons and Belk are listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
Romano says his hopes as both sides debate whether the road is public or not, his side will provide ample evidence that Canyon Road has been a public easement to Lindenlure for years.
“It’s not clear that the Adams family, which put the gate up here, actually owns this portion of Canyon Road, and it takes a surveyor to pull that out,” Romano told Ozarks First in a previous interview. He said previous Christian County leaders said the Adams family did not own that part of the road; they said it was public property or didn’t know who owned it.
Romano mentioned before filing the lawsuit, he and his team members went to several Christian County officials to show the evidence that Canyon Road is public along the river. Romano says they went to the Christian County tax assessors office and showed a GIC map showing Canyon Road was public. Not long after that, the tax assessors GIC map has been updated, and Canyon Road beyond the gate is now labeled Private Lane.
“Because the county has not been maintaining it since the Adams family put the gate up in March, there are already several big fallen trees all over the road, and the asphalt patching that the county has done in the past is starting to wear out, and the road is eroding in places, so not only do we need that gate removed, but we need the road maintained like it always has been,” says Romano.
Romano says the cooperative official has been Lynn Morris, who is running for the Christian County Eastern Commissioner position.
Ozarks First has reached out to the current Christian County Commission and other county entities involved, and they have not commented because, as of Friday evening, they have not been served the lawsuit. Ozarks First reached out to the Christian County Sheriff’s Office to see why the lawsuit has not been served. Usually, the area sheriff’s offices will deliver the lawsuits or hire someone to deliver them.
Romano hopes to reopen Lindenlure this fall.