Plans for retaining wall repairs in Brownsville
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BROWNSVILLE, Tenn. — Some local city leaders say a retaining wall could collapse at any time, putting several Brownsville businesses in harm’s way. The question is, who is responsible to pay the thousands of dollars for the much-needed repairs to the wall? The city board determined this retaining wall in downtown Brownsville needs repairs now before it breaks and possibly causes a landslide with several businesses in its path. Residents said they are concerned. “It’s a hazard, to be honest about it,” resident Willie Carney said. “It’s going to happen. It already is happening, really.” But Brownsville Mayor Bill Rawls said they are meeting a few bumps on the way to those repairs, starting with the wall’s location. “The city owns a small portion of the wall, and then there are other private business owners, so it runs along a property line,” Rawls said. He told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News the line is causing confusion on who pays for repairs and for how much. Some business owners said they don’t owe anything and it should come out of taxpayers’ pockets. “We’re trying to access via survey how much the wall affects each business and who’s actually responsible on it from a financial standpoint,” Rawls said. Parts of the wall already have collapsed with some of the hill sliding down. The mayor said this is an immediate danger and that they plan to take action as soon as possible. Despite different opinions on financial responsibility, the mayor said they still are going ahead with the project to ensure the foundations of nearby buildings are not damaged. Rawls said the city is paying about $53,000 for the repairs to start soon. “We’ll work it out with the business owners,” Rawls said. “We’re not going to force anybody to do something, but we want everybody to be accountable and responsible.” Carney said as long as everyone is safe, that is what matters. “I think it’ll be fair for the city to go ahead and get it done for the safety of the people here in town,” Carney said. The mayor said once the legal issues are settled, the city would pay for the repairs and eventually business owners would be asked to reimburse the costs.