Rainbow Businesses Hopeful | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Rainbow Businesses Hopeful

Computer Co-op Office Manager Charlotte Lundemo said she was optimistic after a Monday Ward 7 meeting on flooding problems plaguing Rainbow Grocery and connected businesses in Fondren Plaza. Lundemo and her husband, Computer Co-op owner Luke Lundemo, said the city appeared ready to foot the bill for street repairs that would re-route drain waters that have been pouring into the back of businesses during downpours.

"They said they'll do it if the city gets permission to come onto the property," Charlotte Lundemo said.

Public Works Director Thelman Boyd did not return calls for comment, but Lundemo said she expected the city would build a storm grate across the length of the water route before it entered the building.

Reginold Harrion, deputy city lawyer for public works, said he knew of no specific deal reached between the city and business owners, saying the city was still in its assessment phase, regarding the repairs. Harrion referred any further questions to Ward 7 councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon, who did not immediately return calls.

In the meantime, Lundemo said the plaza businesses were considering getting a pump to siphon off the water during emergencies.

Previous Comments

ID
66742
Comment

On Wednesday August 16th Rainbow received a fax of a Memorandum penned by Deputy Attorney Harrion stating that the City would nt fix the problem occuring on the private property of the shopping strip, falsely stated that the flooding problem was pre-existing, and stated the City had no liability for the permits they issued. This was met with a host of emails from Members disappointed in their stance. The Council in turn called a Special Emergency Meeting on the afternoon of Friday August 18th. The Council came close to voting to fix the problem but at the last moment Council Representative Leslie McLemore wanted to hold the vote until further research could be done to determine if the city was truly at fault. The facts of the matter are that St. Martin's Gallery addition was built on top of a storm water retainage area and large storm grate. The water now collects where this addition and Rainbow meet where the water used to curve into the pre-existing empty lot and into the storm drain. The City approved a ordinance variance for the building of the structure contingent on site planning approving the construction. Site Planning has stated that they never went out there but that the construction occured anyway. The City did not follow through on the mandate of the City Council and then allowed the construction to occur effectively eliminating this structures drainage system without establishing an alternate. The City is at fault and soon our Cooperative, owned by over 2700 tax-paying Mississippians, may be put out of business due to flood incurrred costs. The building would then sit there empty because no one will purchase a building with a flooding problem to which no insurance company will issue flood insurance (our flood insurance has been cancelled). This would be quite a knock to a developing business district such as Fondren.

Author
daniel johnson
Date
2006-08-20T14:49:50-06:00
ID
66743
Comment

Daniel, I know you've probably suggested it to Ms. Ladd but have you emailed Wyatt Emmerich? It is definitely within his coverage.

Author
Kingfish
Date
2006-08-20T17:25:11-06:00
ID
66744
Comment

From the update section of the C-L. "Public Works Director Thelman Boyd estimated it would cost the city about $5,000 to fix the drainage system. He said his department had been waiting on a response from the state Attorney General’s office because some property on which crews would have to work is private. Mayor Frank Melton said today the city should not wait on the Attorney General to respond. “We’re not waiting anymore. We’re just going to fix the problem,” Melton said. “The president and council have taken the position that we are supporting city businesses, so that’s what we’re going to do.”"

Author
millhouse
Date
2006-08-21T20:20:21-06:00
ID
66745
Comment

Well, based on what Daniel tells us above, it sounds like this one is the city's fault: The City approved a ordinance variance for the building of the structure contingent on site planning approving the construction. Site Planning has stated that they never went out there but that the construction occured anyway. If they never went to the look, it sounds like they are responsible and should fix it, especially when this is so important to the health of Fondren (in many ways). Good for Melton for speaking on on this one. It sounded a bit suspect to me that Dr. McLemore thinks they need an AG opinion. Hell, it rained hard again today. Did y'all flood? There is no time for an AG opinion, unless it's emergency. The city's had years to deal with this; now they need to fix the problem they created by nont doing their job.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-08-21T20:38:42-06:00
ID
66746
Comment

AND, it's a damned fine point that if Dr. McLemore et al are going to talk so much about wanting businesses to stay in Jackson, they need to treat situations like this as an emergency and not come up ways of delaying it. Rainbow Plaza is at the heart of the creative community here. Why talk so much about keeping Butler-Snow and then neglect a business like this one? I'm behind this statement of Melton's 100 percent (!): “The president and council have taken the position that we are supporting city businesses, so that’s what we’re going to do.”" Good. Let's do it.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-08-21T20:42:16-06:00
ID
66747
Comment

The facts of the matter are that St. Martin's Gallery addition was built on top of a storm water retainage area and large storm grate. The water now collects where this addition and Rainbow meet where the water used to curve into the pre-existing empty lot and into the storm drain. Did the contractor or the engineer fail to provide any drainage structures in the plans to catch the water that previously collected in the storm drain? Or did they all just assume that the stormwater would stop flowing downhill and magically reroute itself? Certainly the City shouldn't have permitted a building to be placed directly over a drainage outlet without demanding provisions to reroute the drainage, and they sure as heck shouldn't have let the site be constructed without checking for such problems, but the developer also had a responsibility to make sure the engineer and the contractor recognized this problem and installed inlets to catch the water before it could flood the building. Pointing fingers at the City may sound fine, but if repairs are going to be made possibly using public money, the question of whose liable for creating this problem in the first place (and therefore responsible for payment) needs to be decided.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2006-08-21T21:17:58-06:00
ID
66748
Comment

I can see that. But I can also see that Rainbow has asked for help for a long time, and now they are flooding constantly. The city should have figured this out a long time ago. I'm not sure where the fault lies for that, but it does seem like there ought to be a way to fix this thing and then go after the private contractor for part of it if need be. But it strikes me as unconscionable to drag this thing out while they keep flooding because, now all of a sudden, the city needs to go to the AG first.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-08-21T21:56:59-06:00
ID
66749
Comment

Also, it seems kind of precious for the city (administration or Council) to freak out over $5,000 to repair its past failure to do its job, when so many things are happening on a daily basis that can get the city sued for much more -- and with City Council often too afraid to do anything about it. Just sayin'.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-08-21T21:58:41-06:00
ID
66750
Comment

Yes, but I think the sticking point here is City forces making repairs on private property, presumably on private storm drainage. If the problem isn't completely fixed or other problems result, the City could then be sued directly at taxpayer's expense. I can understand the City being cautious on that point, but I agree that this situation has gone on for far too long, and it's a shame because the businesses have probably incurred damages that exceed the $5k it will take to "fix" the problem.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2006-08-21T22:58:17-06:00

Thanks to all our new JFP VIPs!

COVID-19 has closed down the main sources of the JFP's revenue -- concerts, festivals, fundraisers, restaurants and bars. If everyone reading this article gives $5 or more, we should be able to continue publishing through the crisis. Please pay what you can to keep us reporting and publishing.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

comments powered by Disqus