The Fickling family might close off its property to Cherry Blossom Festival visitors in the wake of neighbors’ complaints about an animal rescue operation.
On Monday, William A. “Bill” Fickling III emailed his resignation as chairman of the Ingleside Neighborhood Association and gave two weeks’ notice to elect a new chair.
“With the recent charges brought against my family, I feel that it is best to resign my position as chair to give us time to prepare a vigorous defense,” Fickling’s letter said.
Fickling also indicated he might keep visitors from going down the driveway that leads to his grandfather’s estate, where the city’s first Yoshino cherry tree was discovered decades ago.
“I hate to do that because there aren’t any vicious dogs,” Fickling told The Telegraph after submitting his resignation.
Last week, more than a dozen of Fickling’s neighbors came to Municipal Court after Kerri Fickling was cited for nuisance barking at their home last month.
Fickling’s attorney had already sought a continuance, and the case will be heard in May.
The neighbors complained about barking and dogs running in packs. One elderly woman feared for her life, they said.
In Bill Fickling’s resignation email, which he also sent to representatives of the Cherry Blossom Festival and Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission, Fickling noted that the blossom-lined driveway and private property have been open to visitors “for many years, and there have been no incidents.”
Fickling went on to say: “However, in an abundance of caution, and to protect ourselves legally, you may find our property closed to visitors from time to time during the Festival, particularly during high-traffic weekends, or after dusk.”
During a crime spree in fall 2015, Bill Fickling led an effort to hire private security to patrol the streets.
In stating it had been his pleasure to serve the neighborhood, Fickling’s letter noted the success of the program.
“I am pleased that our efforts of the Macon Bibb County Sheriff’s Department led to a reduction of the crime rate in the Ingleside neighborhood during my tenure.”