The last six tenants of the Village Inn on N. Main St. appeared in Cumberland County General Sessions Court Tuesday for eviction hearings.

All agreed to relocate within 10 days. Some were given extensions over the weekend on March 27, based on needs.

The six tenants represent the last of the occupants who have called the Village Inn home.

The Village Inn opened as a motel and featured a restaurant as part of the complex. In recent years, it served as full-time homes for dozens of low-income Cumberland Countians with weekly furnished rentals that included utilities.

In July, the complex was briefly closed after police, fire and codes inspectors visited the property and ordered it shut down.

That was short lived. Residents were allowed back the next day as the city referenced a due process error.

One resident told General Sessions Judge Amanda Worley he was being represented by a Livingston attorney in a civil lawsuit against the city stemming from that closure. However, the July closure has no bearing on the eviction proceedings heard in small claims court.

The Chronicle has not located a civil lawsuit filed against the city at this time.

After the brief closure, owner Dr. Robert “Buck” Wood approached the city with an offer to sell the property located next door to city hall. The purchase appeared on the fast track, with the Crossville City Council voting in favor and quickly approving a first and second reading of a budget amendment to fund the $450,000 purchase.

The third reading was set for just before the first of the year, but it was delayed as the city attorney was asked to resolve some legal questions. 

Wood issued a notice to vacate to the tenants at the first of January. All residents were to be out of the facility by Feb. 15.

In February, the council approved a new purchase price, $465,000, and specified the third and final reading would not take place until the residents had vacated the property. Wood was responsible for carrying out any evictions.

On March 7, two of the six tenants remaining past the Feb. 15 deadline appeared in court and agreed to vacate the property within 10 days.

This Tuesday, the remaining four tenants appeared for hearings. 

One couple asked for a hearing. They did not contest the eviction, however, and were simply seeking more time to find a new home.

All said they were seeking “places to go” and two of the four said the Crossville Housing Authority is attempting to help them relocate.

One couple works for minimum wage and has been unable to find affordable housing. A third resident said he has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and another said he has congestive heart failure. 

Both said health issues were hampering their efforts. Both tenants said they would do their best to honor the March 27 date to vacate.

Crossville attorney Douglas Fields, who represents Wood, told Worley his client would not be seeking any back rent due from these occupants and that if they needed the weekend of March 27 to complete their moves, his client would be in agreement.

At the conclusion of court, it appears that all the remaining tenants agreed to vacate March 30 or before, paving the way for the city to complete purchase of the property.

No use for the land has been identified as of this date.

Michael Moser may be reached at mmoser@crossville-chronicle.com

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