A town hall meeting was held Monday evening at the Lampo Center in Neosho.
"We're going to try to explain this issue (about the cross)," Neosho Mayor Ben Baker said. "It's been something that has been a very hot topic of discussion. So, rather than people getting their information from everywhere, we thought it would be a good idea to explain this from our perspective, the details of this issue, and exactly the measures we have taken."
Neosho City Attorney, Steve Hays, explained the timeline of events, outlined legal options that existed for the city with the cross situation and told how a potential lawsuit could have been quite costly for the city. He cited the council's desire had been to both follow the law and not to expend taxpayer funds unnecessarily, as good stewards of the money.
By declaring the 60 by 50 feet piece of property that includes the cross as surplus property, the city was able to transfer ownership to a private organization, Save Our Heritage, formed by Richard Davidson. Using a conservation provision from the state of Missouri, the land was transferred with the provisions that the owner must maintain the property and that nothing can be built on the site.
Richard Davidson, council member and mayor pro-temp, spoke about his action as a private citizen. "When this issue came up, to me it was a black and white issue," Davidson said. "The city was in a position where we had a cross on public lands, financed by public funds and it had to be dealt with."
The process was scrutinized by Hays, the council and by Davidson.
"If there is one thing you know about me, it's that I've always wanted things done in accordance with the law, state law, federal law, whatever," Davidson said.
Vera Cornell, of Neosho shared her thoughts with the council. About two dozen local residents attended the town hall meeting and expressed support for the action. No one spoke against the cross or the city's recent action.
A full story about the town hall meeting will appear in the Friday edition of the Neosho Daily News.
The meeting in its' entirety can be viewed on the Neosho Daily News Facebook page as well.