Cato hears from both sides in demolition case

Contractors hired by the City of Cairo to demolish the former Chickasaw Club in southwest Cairo will have to wait a little longer before cranking up the demolition equipment.
Superior Court Chief Judge A. Wallace Cato on Thursday conducted a hearing on a suit filed by Elbert Walker, owner of the property located at 1416 Calvary Road S.W.
Walker, who is representing himself in the legal proceedings, presented testimony in an attempt to show the city had acted inappropriately and had no right to demolish his property.
The city was represented by City Attorney Thomas L. Lehman and testimony was given by Building Official Brian Hayes.
The judge took the case under advisement and indicated he would rule before the end of July. Until then, Cato’s injunction preventing the city from proceeding with the demolition stands.
“We remain confident that we have a robust case and the city will prevail,” City Manager Chris Addleton commented Thursday.
Municipal Court Judge Joshua C. Bell had ordered the building demolished on June 15 after Walker was found in violation of the city code and a court order issued by Judge Bell.
A crew from Southern Contractors of Cairo was prepared to raze the dilapidated structure on Friday, June 24, but Judge Cato issued an injunction on Thursday, June 23.
The Cairo City Council has declared a war on blight and has inventoried the city targeting unsightly properties. The survey shows there are 13 areas identified as blighted in northeast Cairo, none on the southeast side, but nearly 100 in the northwest and southwest sections of the city.

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