CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) -- In the wake of sharp criticism by tourism and downtown leaders over his dilapidated river barge, the owner said Friday he plans to start cleanup work soon.

Chattanooga businessman Allen Casey said work to fix up the barge is in the works and could start as early as this weekend.

"We had this planned to go before Riverbend," he said about the popular summer festival. "We pushed it up."

But Casey made similar comments last summer about cleaning up the barge that's moored on the north side of the Tennessee River downtown across from Ross's Landing. That's when it was refloated after sitting half-submerged on the river bed for months.

Read more from our news partner the Times Free Press.