The Liberty County Commission has reversed its stance on a small tract of land adjoining Briar Bay Park in Riceboro. At their July midmonth meeting Thursday the commissioners washed their hands of the property.
On July 7 the commission had accepted that the county owned the small park and voted to clean up the site. Last week County Attorney Kelly Davis told the commissioners that he had done extensive research on the land ownership and determined that it did not belong to the county, that it had changed ownership several times among paper companies and probably belonged to one of them now. Taxes are not being paid on the property.
A group of citizens appeared before the commission, saying the land had been intended for public use and had been so recognized by former public officials including Sen. Glenn Bryant, Commissioner Earl Baggs and Commissioner Hazel Carter.
Davis said “Deeds, particularly paper company deeds, are not clear.” Commissioner Eddie Walden, participating by telephone, said, “We should make sure we have good deeds and titles for all our parks.”
In other business the commissioners named a five-member Animal Control Board to hear an appeal in a dangerous dog case. County Administrator Joey Brown said the current case was the third one in five years and that the local board machinery had fallen into disuse and a new panel needed to be named.
The members are Rachel Peeples, Sandra Frye, Mike Hodges, Stephen Andrews and Brown.
Fall recreation activities like soccer and football remain suspended until further notice because of the COVID pandemic. One commissioner observed, “You can’t huddle while social distancing.”
The pandemic is also preventing the reopening of the county’s complex in Midway which is sometimes rented for weddings, parties and similar activities.
The commission approved the annual lease for the Liberty Independent Troop property used by the county for recreation. The annual pro forma lease of the Department of Family and Children office was also approved.
Sharon Terry was appointed to a vacancy on the election board.
The week of July 25 to August 1 was proclaimed Gullah/Geechee Nation Appreciation Week in honor of the descendants of slaves who developed their own culture along the coast of Georgia and other states.
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