Pressure mounts as more business leaders call for barge removal
Support is growing from local business leaders to remove the barge moored along the Tennessee River, across from the Tennessee Aquarium in downtown Chattanooga.
Three different groups, Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau, River City Company and Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce have all written letters to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, asking the federal agency to remove the barge.
The barge in question, owned by Allen Casey, has been in its current location for years. Plans for rehabilitating the barge, turning it into a restaurant have been expressed by Casey for years, yet no action appears to have been taken.
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke wrote a similar letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers earlier this month. In his letter, Berke said "This is a problem property. It looks bad. It hurts the neighbors. It is dangerous and it needs to move."
Berke called the situation "unacceptable to our community."
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The barge has a permit issued by the Corps, which is being questioned by city government and the business support groups.
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, formerly the Mayor of Chattanooga, has a similar stance, having sent his own letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in May.
He asked that the Corps "keep in mind the significant negative effects that this has on the community when making the decision whether or not to revoke its permit."
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Allen Casey, the barge's owner, has not responded to requests for comments.