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Corps of Engineers reviewing permit for downtown Chattanooga barge

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The U.S. Corps of Engineers is expected to make a decision on the future of the Allen Casey barge docked on Chattanooga's north shore. The U.S. Corps of Engineers is expected to make a decision on the future of the Allen Casey barge docked on Chattanooga's north shore.

A controversial barge on Chattanooga's North Shore may soon need to find a new place to dock. If you've been to Downtown Chattanooga and looked across the river at the North Shore, you've likely seen Allen Casey's barge.
The barge's permit from the Corps of Engineers has been suspended since May. It said Casey hasn't held up his end of the deal to fully revamp the barge. It gave him 90 days in June to bring the barge into compliance with the existing permit. Casey's deadline was Monday.
The Corps told Channel 3 Casey submitted documentation Monday to try and prove he's in compliance. It's in the process of reviewing that to decide whether to reinstate, amend or revoke the permit for the barge that some locals call an eyesore.
"The Corps is reviewing the submittal for completeness.  Since this is an ongoing enforcement action, the Corps is not at liberty to discuss additional details at this time," an official statement read.
Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau President Bob Doak wants the barge gone.
"Allen Casey's barge on the Tennessee River is a total disgrace," said Doak. "We should not tolerate something that looks like that right on the front porch of our city."
Soak in the view of Chattanooga's North Shore because between the Delta Queen and Casey's barge, it could soon change.
"Residents and visitors who go down to the riverfront are subjected to this eyesore, this blight, and it needs to go immediately," he said.
Casey wouldn't talk on camera but said the barge is not unsightly. He said he's trying to satisfy the Corps by cleaning it up. Ultimately, his goal is to turn it into a 500 seat floating restaurant that he said would help benefit the Scenic City.
"We would be in favor of a first class restaurant. Anything short of that would be completely unacceptable," Doak said.
Doak said it's time to act. He along with Mayor Andy Berke, the Chamber of Commerce and Senator Bob Corker have all publicly called on a change of scenery.
"The right thing to do is to get this out of our downtown," he said.
Eyesore or not, Casey said that's in the eyes of the beholder. And to him, the North Shore skyline should include his barge.
Asked if he's confident he'll be allowed to moor on the riverfront, Casey told Channel 3, "not as sure as I want to be." He says he'll move it if he has to but that he's not giving up on the project.
Casey said he expects to hear back from the Corps in the next couple days.

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