Local business owner fearful of losing building

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 6:51 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The owner of The Ruins in Meridian is fearful of losing his building due to a new concern with the city issuing a “collapse zone” on 25th Ave. between 5th and 6th Streets. The owner Jimmy Copeland said city officials told him there was an error with the documents for him to occupy the building.

Copeland nor city officials would go into detail about the error but said they are assessing the problem.

Community Development Director Craig Hitt gives his comment about the Ruins building.

“We have met with Mr. Copeland, and we have shared with him what this department and our office will need to possibly consider allowing him to re-enter, and utilize his facility. We are waiting to hear back from him on that account,” said Hitt.

Copeland said that his concern is not being able to open his business due to incorrect documents from the city.

“I had a meeting with them last week. Due to the fact that the city does not have a structure engineer on staff, I am going to have to hire my own structure engineer to come in to make sure that the walls in the Ruins are safe. I have to also make sure if the other joining structure were to collapse it will not fall and damage Ruins or hurt anybody inside,” said Copeland.

Copeland said this has affected his business tremendously due to being shut down for weeks.

“We are getting calls daily. People love The Ruins. It is a unique venue, and people love to come to it. We had nothing but great comments about it. We want to get it open again that’s for the public. We were trying to get something down in that area to get that area revived again and get it going. I think The Ruins have been a big part of that, so we would like to get it back going again. We had to go through this process. It is not something we could foresee was going to happen. It is something that happened 1/2 years ago that’s now coming to issue but hopes we could get it corrected soon,” said Copeland.

The established collapse zone is related to the condition of the historic E. F. Young Hotel that could affect the Ruins building.

The Young family gave a statement saying: “The most troubling thing about this is that our property has been made the focus of a story that had nothing to do with us. This is an issue between the City of Meridian and the adjacent property owner. Our property was there prior to this business being opened and the condition has not changed.”

The area is still considered a collapsed zone and will remain that way until further notice, according to city officials.

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