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West Liberty alley reopened following tense exchange between mayor, business owner

A West Liberty alley that had been designated for community use was reopened to traffic Wednesday, but not before a shouting match ensued between the village mayor and a neighboring business owner.

Kirk Downing, a business owner who intends to open a print and design shop at 119 N. Detroit St., and Mayor Greg Hostetler met Wednesday at the rear of the alley — which had been temporarily closed by village council at the request of the West Liberty Business Association to use it as a gathering space for residents in conjunction with a summer Friday evening promotion.

Mr. Downing’s prospective business is immediately to the north of the alley, with about four designated parking spaces behind the building allocated to the business, and a few more intended for apartment tenants upstairs.

He showed the mayor how his vehicles have to pull some 25 yards into the one-way alley, and then have to depart and exit the wrong way from the rear of the building because access to the alley is blocked by signs, tables and chairs near Detroit Street.

“It’s clearly impeding our right-of-way,” he told the mayor. “This alley was designed to be used alongside this building.”

 

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