Business owner frustrated with continuous parking lot flooding

Business owner frustrated with continuous parking lot flooding
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

TRUMANN, AR (KAIT) - A Trumann business owner is frustrated after flash flooding has caused her to close her doors several times.

Elizabeth Williams has owned the Southern Tans Boutique on Highway 463 in Trumann for nearly a year.

She said every time they get a heavy rain her parking lot floods. Sometimes even two inches in a day can make it to where her customers can't get inside the shop.

"It seems like it gets worse every time," Williams said. "It's ridiculous. I mean, my customers have to pull in here and get out and get their feet wet just to come in and sometimes I even have to close down. And this is how I make my living, so if I can't open up then I'm not making money."

Last week, heavy rain forced Williams to close down the tanning salon for two and a half days, which she said is a big hit to her small business.

"A few hundred dollars, especially now," Williams said. "We're in the busy season, so people are constantly coming in."

Williams has asked her landlord if something can be done to alleviate the flooding, but he believes the City of Trumann should be the one to fix it.

"The City of Trumann takes on drainage from every commercial property here in Trumann, especially on our 'Red Wolf Boulevard' here," property owner Mark Wooten said. "Why can't I contribute to the drainage also? Am I not entitled to that myself?"

Wooten has owned the shopping center that Southern Tans Boutique is in for about three years. His business, Greenback Games and Pawn, lost money as well. Wooten told Region 8 News that he lost more than $8,000 in revenue due to the flooded parking lot.

He said the flooding problems began when the neighboring property to the south was developed and built up higher than his.

Trumann Mayor Barbara Lewallen told Region 8 News Monday that the city ensured the new business invested in an underground drainage system to help with water runoff, but Wooten said that's not doing enough.

"Why am I going to have to pay out of pocket to do something that I did not cause," Wooten said. "If that's the case and problems are created, how much is the business owner going to have to pony up in order to solve the problems that the business owner did not create?"

Wooten said he paid $14,800 out of his own pocket to install a drain and connect it to an underground reservoir, but the problems continued.

Mayor Lewallen said she is sympathetic to the problem, but there is only so much the city can do on private property.

She said the city did lay a pipe alongside the building so water would drain to the back.

They also cleared trees so a swell could be created and offered city workers to dig that swell, but the mayor said Wooten didn't sign off for that to be done. Wooten said he believed that work would not have improved the draining and his parking lot's flooding problem.

"I think the evidence points that there is such a tremendous amount of water that comes onto my property and that underground reservoir takes on, all of this is connected, so I would be taking on the water that comes onto my property, but not only my property, but the underground reservoir also so the swell would not help very much at all," Wooten said. "You're talking maybe if we're lucky about a quarter of an inch or something like that. It's just not a feasible solution for the amount of rain and water that comes onto my property."

While Wooten and the city go back and forth about who should fix the issue, Williams just hopes it gets fixed soon so she can stay open.

Williams said the city did contact her Monday saying they are still looking at possible solutions.

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