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Do you think the restaurants that had to close because of the water main break should be compensated?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on January 22, 2005

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Photo of Burke Griggs

“Well, I think it’s bad luck. Unfortunately it’s not a water law issue, so I don’t think the city can be held responsible.”

Photo of Nesta Wilson

“They should definitely get some kind of compensation. It’s not their fault that it broke, so they should get something.”

Photo of Kerry Glynn

“Yes. I think that they should probably be compensated for the business that they lost that day.”

Photo of Sergio Delgado

“No. Although the city may be responsible, it is just the cost of doing business. Things happen.”


mr_daniels 13 years ago

The LJW is sponsoring a heavy metal rock help fest for those poor businesses suffering from a loss of revenue due to Mother Nature's freezing and breaking an old city water main!

Hong_Kong_Phooey 13 years ago

Compensation?! That would be a retarded idea...then again, Lawrence is the capitol of retarded ideas so compensate away...

BunE 13 years ago

Lets declare a disaster and have Jeb Bush survey the scene. Then, the Marine Carrier Saipan can sail up the Kaw and provide humanitarian relief. Ben Affleck can host a telethon and we can solicit donations.

Is somebody actually asking for compensation?

Larry 13 years ago

Sure, why not? Let compensate everyone, everywhere - every time something doesn't go as planned. In fact, I recall being late for work due to city crews working on the roads in Lawrence. I'll be contacting city hall within the week for my compensation. But wait, once - years ago while living in Lawrence, I was preparing a major presentation for work, we had a power outage and I wasn't able to complete the work. Talk about mental disspair, there should be some compensation there too. How about we compensate all the landscape companies in Lawrence each time we have a dry spell. I mean - it isn't their fault that we are having dry weather. It kills their business and it certainly isn't a planned event. How about the ice storms? Shouldn't we compensate all businesses in Lawrence - because they do lose money when people don't get out and about.

How ridiculous for anyone to think a business should be compensated? A business is a gamble. A smart businessman prepares for slow days and situations as such. Heck - if I owed one of those businesses, I would have been offering help to the workers. Feed them, provide warmth, bring them treats, coffee, etc. I certainly wouldn't be whinning about it and wanting compensation.

Punkin 13 years ago

Perhaps the City should spend more time maintaining and improving basic city services and infrastructure in the City proper, and less time expanding and funding water and utility services to sprawling suburbs.

It's time for those who have paid for City services for years to actually receive them. Instead, our hard earned tax dollars are going to increase profits for developers and realtors who promote and demand unsustainable growth on the outskirts of town.

Should the downtown businesses get compensation? Maybe.

Perhaps, dollar for dollar, downtown businesses' compensation should match the economic benefits the developers receive when we, the taxpayers, fund the installation of water lines, new roads, and other services out to the hinterlands.

kansas 13 years ago

The pipe was 120 years old. Hmmm........ Okay. I have a feeling that the city knew that the pipe was getting kind of old, don't you? So can I correctly assume that, all along, the policy was to just let that pipe continue to deteriorate until the pipe came apart and water started shooting out all over Mass. St.?? It would seem so! Don't you think that the city should have a plan in place a while ago---a long while ago!---to deal with the pipe situation on Mass. St.? This way business owners on Mass. St. could be notified well in advance of a water shut down and the owners could act accordingly, instead of being taken by surprise like they were yesterday? It would seem as though the policy Lawrence has when it comes to replacing really old pipes in town is:

Hey, let's just ignore them till they rot and/or rupture, then we'll fix'em! Everybody good with that idea?

remember_username 13 years ago

No, compensation is not warranted. Pipes break, it's an imperfect world. Although I have to wonder - if the city did compensate the restaurants how many of the owners would compensate the employees that they sent home without pay?

JHAWKGURL 13 years ago

Compensation? Its all part of the risk of having a business.....things happen. Simple huh? Suck it up businesses. Tomorrow is a new day!

The world is not coming to an end...besides, it is already tomorrow in Australia...Dr. Seuss

Jay_Z 13 years ago

Sh** compensation.

Punkin 13 years ago

Kansas, i agree with you wholeheartedly.

It is the City Manager, Mike Wilgen, who directs the activities of the public works staff.

We've got traffic calming circles, new lines to be painted on 6th street, expensive new toys for the police department, and new water lines running half way to Topeka, but we can't seem to marshall the political will to prevent a water main break in Downtown Lawrence.

Ignoring such an aged system shows questionable judgement at best.

Perhaps we citizens should pay more attention to the stated priorities and actual activities of City management.

remember_username 13 years ago

Yes, 120 years seems pretty old to me too, but how many miles of pipe under old parts of Lawrence are 120 years old? What was the expected lifetime? How many businesses downtown would be willing to shut down for days or weeks to replace all the pipes? Or to accept an increase in city water prices to cover the cost of replacement? My gut response is still no to compensation, but there is obviously other things to consider.

Au_contraire 13 years ago

It was only about five years ago that the intersection of 9th and Mass was closed to traffic due to utility upgrades. Remember? It was narrowed for a couple months and actually closed for a week or so.

The new part had to have spliced back in to the existing somewhere. From a casual look at things, it must have been right about the point where that break occurred.

Maybe they can do a line replacement in stages too.

crohan1978 13 years ago

Just so you know, all cities are like this. I am a plumbing engineer in the City of Chicago, and there are water mains that are at least 120 years old running through the streets of Chicago. As a result, the city water pressure is very low, and every single building and house that is 2 stories or higher, has to have a booster pump. If the city was to boost the water pressure on their own, they could burst a lot of the old water mains, which would costs a lot of money. It is a part of life, infrastructure takes a lot of money to update and repair, and when you are working against fast growth, it happens. You do not want to inhibit growth, because it brings in more tax revenue for the community, and eventually, things will be changed and fixed as needed. Chicago only repairs and replaces water systems on an as needed basis, i.e. a water main break. Some of their old mains are even wooden!!! So stop complaining, and acting like Lawrence is a city that is way behind the ball, it is like this everywhere, and it is a part of doing business.

crohan1978 13 years ago

mnellie2, love the way you put that!!!

Hugs, sorry if what I said came across wrong, but the people that think the business's should be compensated are way out of line, regardless. Do I think that maybe Lawrence should be spending its money to update the infrastructure, of course, but there are other important items that need to get fixed too. I agree, the taser guns were probably stupid, but intersections such as 15th and Engle are ridiculous, I know, I used to live in the dorms up there, and passed throught that intersection many times even after I moved out of the dorms.

Two Words!! Sh*t Happens!!!

mnellie2 13 years ago

Everyone is worried about compensation for the businesses that had to be closed due to the water main break in the 900 block of Massachusetts, what about those city water employees that were out there till midnight in the night trying to repair it. Did anyone offer them anything such as food, a place to warm up, something to drink or even a good word of encouragement saying what a good job they are doing and keep up the good work. They also have families at home wishing they were home so that they could do things together and spend time with their kids. These guys do this each and every day/night, in all kinds of weather conditions, at all hours and work their butts off just so you can go home or wake up in the morning just so you can have running water. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, GUYS.

Richard Heckler 13 years ago

The answer is no absolutely not. No doubt more attention(money) is likely focused on Lawrence expansion than needs to be...hey water pipes break without notice many times during extreme temps. Local business folks may have insurance to cover such matters.

Taser guns...what a rip off. These things can kill.

A more important question could be what does the public think about the school district paying $24,000 per acre for land? Someone made out like a bandit. One can only hope it was a farmer instead of a land speculator.

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