Will city take free land?

In October, Hosmer Brown, an attorney who owns commercial and residential property in the 50th-and-France business area, offered to give the Public Works Department a vacant lot — at no cost. However, almost seven months later, the city hasn’t accepted or rejected the offer.

Brown, who has a long-standing relationship with the Fulton Neighborhood Association, stipulated that he’d donate the 40-foot-wide lot at 5048 Ewing Ave. S. as long as it is used for parking and the immediate neighbors approve.

At the April Fulton Board meeting, Brown announced he hadn’t heard from 13th Ward Councilmember Barret Lane’s office and would rescind the gift if he didn’t hear soon. Brown said he’s losing $1,000 in potential income a month on the unoccupied land.

"I grew up in the hills of Kentucky, and I can’t let that amount of money go to waste," said Brown, who owns three rental property lots next to a city parking lot.

Since the April 9 meeting, Brown spoke with Lane assistant Julia Blount and has agreed to wait, but much longer. He declined to set a deadline.

"I was told that I’d be informed of what their plans were, but they’d been swamped and would get to the issue as soon as they could," said Brown.

At the May Fulton neighborhood meeting, Lane said that his staff will send a letter to Brown "in the immediate future," but wouldn’t clarify if the city will accept the land.

Brown’s parking lot design must follow city guidelines for size and space considerations mandated by law. Brown said the city had yet to finish reviewing his parking lot before budget cuts eliminated the position of the city planner Brown had been working with.

Brown hopes to create 60 additional parking spaces with the donated land. He retained a landscape design architect who drew three different parking-lot scenarios. Currently, cars cannot easily enter and exit the lot, causing congestion and confusion in the lot. Brown hopes to solve that by changing entrances from north-to-south to an entrance design that runs east-to-west from the alley to Ewing.