The Cleburne County Commission Monday unanimously approved transferring 10 feet of county right of way in front of Ambers Hanson’s property at 11011 County Road 10 in Ranburne.
Hanson, 90, protested the county’s mandate that he move a rock wall in front of his family home, saying the wall is historically significant, said Doug Ghee, the county attorney.
Hanson said his grandfather and father built the house and the wall in about 1890. His grandfather had received a land grant from President James Buchanan. Hanson said he still has the “old sheepskin” deed.
Hanson and his family contacted the Alabama Historic Preservation Office, which was ready to step in, Ghee said.
The Alabama Department of Transportation would not release the funding for the project until everything was removed from the right of way. In addition, said Shannon Robbins, Cleburne County engineer, the road project will be financed with federal money and therefore “cannot be in conflict with other agencies or federal rules.” If the Historic Preservation Office chose to fight the removal of the wall, it would have endangered the funding, Robbins said.
A family friend of Hanson’s contacted State Sen. Gerald Dial about the predicament.
“He was sympathetic to my cause,” Hanson said.
In fact, Ryan Robertson, chairman of the commission, said preserving the wall was a community effort.
“There was a push from the family and there was a push from the community,” Robertson said.
Dial said he went out to see the wall personally. He also spoke to the Preservation Office and the county to help find a solution, Dial added.
“I just thought it was an opportunity to preserve a piece of history,” he said. “I thought it was a win-win.”
To save the project, the Cleburne County Commission got the wall off county books by transferring it to Hanson, Ghee said.
The county, the Alabama Department of Transportation and the family all agreed on the transfer as a way to satisfy all their requirements, Ghee said.
In other business the commission members:
- Appointed Patrick Nolen to the Cleburne County Hospital Board and Crystal Cavender to the Cleburne County Department of Human Resources Board.
- Approved entering into an agreement with ALDOT for the county’s bridge projects.
- Recognized the legal community for the free work it does for low-income residents in the community and proclaimed Oct. 20-26 Pro Bono Week.
- Declared some county property as surplus and authorized County Administrator Steve Swafford to dispose of it and to transfer old computer equipment to the volunteer fire departments in the county.
- Approved the proposed solid waste management plan.
Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.