Saturday, December 13, 2008

Market Tenant President To Speak at Council

Anita Wilson, President of the City Market Building Tenants Association, has been sponsored by Vice-Mayor Sherman Lea and Councilwoman Anita Price to address Roanoke City Council on Monday at 2:00 PM. Wilson will emphasize the impact that the March 2009 closure of the Market Building will have on the tenants livelihoods. March 2009 is the target date set by Council to begin major renovations that would displace the tenants for an extended period of time. Mayor Bowers had called it a “9/11 catastrophe” but then took it back.

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“It is a catastrophe to the tenants,” says Anita Wilson. Some of them are on the verge of bankruptcy. The intense media coverage has “damaged our [tenants] reputation.” Business at the Market building is way down. There have been no mice since the Market reopened.

Through miscommunication between the City and Superior Exterminating there was no insect or rodent prevention service for 4 months. Terminex’s initial pest control service began on April 11, 2008. Superior Exterminating last serviced the building in December, 2007. The tenant’s pay for maintenance of the common areas which includes “insect and rodent treatment.”

On September 19th, the day the building was closed by the Health Department, multiple mice were found. Prior to the closure Terminex reports indicate dead mice were found on several weekly inspections as far back as June 27th.

The day after closure, City contractors began repairs to the building that included the tenants’ stalls. Repairs were well on their way when an agreement prepared by the City Manager’s office was presented to the tenants. The agreement dated September 26th read in whole, “I authorize the City of Roanoke to complete repairs to my leased premises. I understand the repairs will be charged according to the provision of the lease.”

The tenants felt compelled to sign it. They complained in written comments on the agreements that they received no estimates for any charges and no contract for the work. One tenant even wrote, “I am signing under duress.”

Nine tenants represented by attorney, John Fishwick, are in legal proceedings with the city. To date no vendor has received a bill from the city for repairs.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Roanoke City Politics

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