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City to pursue litigation to determine who owns Civil War property on the Square

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After controversy arose at the Franklin Board of Mayor and Alderman meeting over who owns the property on which the unnamed Civil War monument “Chip” stands, the aldermen voted to pursue a lawsuit to determine ownership.

"The lingering uncertainty over who owns the land on the square was the catalyst for this lawsuit," said Dana McLendon, 2nd Ward, after the unanimous vote.

In an uncommon move, BOMA entered an executive session immediately after the its formal monthly meeting. After the executive session, aldermen reentered the board room to cast the their vote. 

BOMA's decision allows city attorney Shauna Billingsley to pursue a declaratory judgement, a specific type of lawsuit to adjudicate the rights and privileges of concerned parties, on ownership of the land.

“The uncertainty has got to be resolved," McLendon said. "This is an issue that keeps coming back.”

"We are asking for the court's decision so that we don't have to debate this anymore," city administrator Eric Stuckey said. 

At the BOMA meeting Tuesday the United Daughters Confederacy opposed, through their attorney, a proposal that would bring four additional Civil War markers, depicting the history of slavery in Franklin, to the grassy small public park where the Civil War monument of a Confederate soldier, nicknamed Chip, stands.

The 120-year old UDC organization claims that they own the land where Chip stands and therefore should have a say in rejecting the marker proposal brought forth by three preachers and a historian earlier this month. 

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