Fight over access to popular Christian County swimming hole takes new twist

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 11:41 AM CDT
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The controversy over a popular river spot in Christian County continues.

A few months ago, landowners at Lindenlure blocked off Canyon Road with gates and concrete blocks, notifying visitors that it was private property.

But some are fighting to get access back, and one man says he was threatened.

Lindenlure has been a popular swimming hole for years. But in March, landowners closed off the access to Canyon Road.

David Romano has taken his family to the spot for many years and was upset to see it closed off. He started a Facebook group a few weeks ago, which includes nearly 2,000 members. And he says the effort has raised about $7,000. He's working with an attorney and surveyors to find out if Canyon Road actually is private or public, and hopes to regain access for the public.

"There’s a law about blocking public roads that the sheriff should enforce if we can prove that it’s public," Romano says. "If it turns out to be private or unclear, then we have to push the lawsuit about our 100 year old public access and easement."

Romano claims amid this battle, two men showed up at his house around 10 p.m. to confront him about his efforts. And he ended up calling the sheriff's department.

"The one with the gun was saying that he was going to come back tomorrow, and I wasn't going to like it and they have ways of dealing with things around here," said Romano. "How shall I say, he loomed over me, trying to eyeball to eyeball me. I guess he hasn't heard about social distancing, because he was about six millimeters from my face."

Sheriff Brad Cole confirms his deputies responded to a call last week. The report lists the incident as harassment, and the Christian County Sheriff's Office says it will submit documentation to the prosecutor. Romano claims it was not the landowners who came to his home, but some men who know them.

MoDOT says the gate the landowners put up is partially on their public right of way. But property owners can file for a permit for the gate.

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