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Greenwood Council Accepts Lawsuit Settlement

A long-standing lawsuit filed against the city of Greenwood by a property owner was resolved Monday night.

The City Council agreed to a settlement in which Greenwood pays John VanGorder $35,000 in exchange for easements on a portion of a city trail already constructed just off Denver Street near Center Street.

“I spoke with each of the council members individually concerning a proposed settlement offer I received from Mr. VanGorder’s attorney,” City Attorney Mike Hamby said. “Under the terms of the agreement, we would pay Mr. and Mrs. VanGorder a sum of $35,000. In exchange for that, we would get the easements to the exact locations where the trail runs now, including one foot on either side of it.”

Although the council voted 5-0 to accept the settlement, it did not discuss the matter on Hamby’s advice.

“As I’ve discussed with each of you,” Hamby told councilmen, “we still have a lawsuit pending, so I’m discouraging any conversation or discussion at this point, and would request just a motion one way or the other.”

In a letter to the editor from August 2012, VanGorder said he donated a portion of his property to the city for building a trail.

“My lawsuit does not involve the land I donated,” he wrote. “But some promises were made to me when I made the donation that were not kept. The next thing I knew, the city laid additional trail on me anyway without my permission.”

VanGorder’s letter went on to say that he did not want to fight with the city.

“But at the same time I do not think the government can treat common people however they want.”

Also Monday, Police Chief Will Dawson reported that in October, his department issued 63 traffic citations and made 23 arrests. Fire Chief Stewart Bryan noted his department responded to one car fire and six vehicle crashes with injuries in October.

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