Most remember our company, Barnett USA, as the ice machine company in the Cooper-Young district. Started in 1957 by my dad, Cliff, we were based at 2089 York Avenue, with additional locations in Nashville, TN; Jackson, MS; and Louisville, KY. We employed over 30 people. Unfortunately, because of the continual sewage and flooding we have experienced on our property and the City’s refusal to address or correct the problems, we can no longer use our facility. We were forced out, literally, from our Cooper-Young home base. We now operate from 1721 September Ave.
We have been begging the City for help since the early 80’s, but nothing has been done. On November 22, 2010 we met with Tetratech and City officials at Snowden School to discuss the problem. After the meeting I was expecting updates in some capacity, but that has not happened. As a Cooper-Young property owner, my concerns grow daily with the lack of communication. While residents and businesses have suffered varying levels of damage, our 15,000 + square foot office/warehouse is a total loss of $1.2M, and the City expects us to continue paying the enormous property taxes as if our business were still there. Adding insult to injury, I was sued by the City and fire services in environmental court because they wanted me to tear down the building and clean up the destruction they left me with.
This has been an ongoing issue for our family, and I think it’s time for us to consider and prepare contingency plans should the City continue with their do nothing approach. Today I met with members of the TN Recovery Project Program. They had no idea of the devastation we had suffered until they reviewed some of the pictures. They have provided me with some options for consideration, and I would be interested to know if any other affected businesses or families would like to be involved? I am sure most anyone affected by the flooding has run out of patience dealing with the City of Memphis and what the mayor calls “red tape that hurts” everyone. If you have interest, please send an email to Bruce@BarnettUSA.com.