Friday, December 19, 2008

Market Tenants Say Clean Up The Trash

Anita Wilson, President of the Tenants Association and co-owner of Burger in the Square with her husband, Louis, pleaded with Council Monday to tell them precisely how their businesses would factor into the extensive renovations of the Market Building. Wilson wanted “straight answers” on whether the City even wanted them to remain in the Market building. We have had “no input” to the selected architectural firm’s redesign, said Wilson.

Council was surprised when she divulged that, “there is no future for most of us … shutdown decisions will be made in days, not months.” She said that knowing their future “was not a lot to ask … we need to make plans now so we don’t drown.”

Councilwoman, Anita Price, asked the City Manager, Darlene Burcham, if she had a timeframe for the tenants. Burcham responded saying “unfortunately we do not.” During the retreat she said it would be no earlier than March 2009 and then the tenants would have at least 60 days notice. Following the retreat Burcham said she offered the tenants assistance in locating to other temporary locations during renovations. However, she did not say who would pay for relocation and any construction that might be needed.

Price then asked about the concern tenants had on where the trash is stored. Wilson said that the trash is stored indoors at the corner of the Market building and that she had tried unsuccessfully to get some compactors from the City but nothing has been done.

Glenna Johannessen, owner of “Seeds Of Light” located on the outside of the Market building, spoke after Wilson. Johannessen stressed the effect the closure of the Market building had on her business. Johannessen said before the September 19th closure her sales were up 7.5% for the year but during the 2 weeks the building was closed sales were down 14%.

In written comments other downtown businesses expressed how the two-week Market closure had negatively impacted their business.

There was sympathy all around but little definitive answers for the tenants. Council members being aware of the tenants pending lawsuit choose their words carefully. Anita Wilson said however, she believed they listened to her and that she preferred negotiation and communication over legal action.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Roanoke City Politics

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