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Building dispute pits neighbor against neighbor

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Posted at 5:04 PM, Aug 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-25 16:56:46-04

A McLennan County judge took his first step in settling a dispute between two sets of neighbors and a new business in East Waco on Friday.

It involves the sale of a donated building and who should benefit from the sale.

The dispute ended in court because two groups here in East Waco can't agree on who had the right to sell this donated building.

The owners of the gym, who bought it from an economic development group, feel caught in the middle.

"The community has a right to dialogue," resident Thelma Evans said.

Evans along with Wannika Muhammad came to the McLennan County Courthouse on Friday.

They believe the East Waco Development Corporation sold this donated building in the shadow of downtown Waco without community input.

East Waco Development sold the building to Train Waco, a CrossFit gym, that opened its doors a few days ago.

Managers said it brings in 200 people to East Waco every day and is a positive economic influence.

"We really want to bring, you know, with our business health and wellness to this area," said Jonathan Shelton of Train Waco.

Evans and Muhammad said East Waco Development had no right to sell the building without community input… something East Waco denied.

"I don't have a problem with the gym being there. The problem is ownership of the building," Evans said.  

She blames the City Center Waco group, but leaders here say they only made the introduction between Train Waco and East Waco Development.

It’s something that left Train Waco in the middle of a dispute between neighbors.

"It's very unfortunate, but, you know, from our member's standpoint and the promises that we've made to several members of the community already, we have to put our heads down and just keep trucking along," said Shelton.

Evans believes "the fix was in" on the sale, but attorneys for East Waco Development said the group had every right to sell the building.

"We are determined to fight this case and we are going to come out victorious."

Judge Jim Meyer declined to issue a temporary restraining order. He'll hold a hearing on a temporary injunction on the case on Sept. 6.

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