published Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Bessie Smith Strut proposal delayed a week by Chattanooga City Council

by Cliff Hightower
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Is the Bessie Smith Strut worth saving?
  • Yes. 47%
  • No. 53%

573 total votes.

The City Council this afternoon deferred for one week consideration of a resolution about the Bessie Smith Strut, scheduled to be held June 11.

Supporters of the Strut and organizers of the Riverbend Festival have been working on ways to meet demands laid out by Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield, who has said the blues, barbecue and beer bash on Martin Luther King Boulevard is unsafe.

“By next Tuesday we should have the ingredients to approve this plan,” the mayor said this afternoon as council members met for committee meetings.

Moses Freeman, point man of the group working to put together the Strut on June 11, said they needed a little more time and deferred going before the council with their proposal until next week.

“We made a request through [Councilman] Andrae McGary to postpone going before City Council until next Tuesday,” Freeman said.

“We have just a couple of items to work out and everybody wants to get those things done.”

Among the items to be worked out, per a letter from Littlefield, were who would carry the liability insurance on the event, securing the site through fencing and gating and regulating all vendors.

The mayor’s office is responsible for issuing any permits and for providing security for the event, Freeman said, but his group wants the support and approval of the City Council as well.

“We went to the council before to ask them to give us support and they gave us the idea that they were interested in doing so, so it is a matter of course and courtesy that we want to go before them.”

Freeman said the boards of the Bessie Smith Cultural Center and Friends of the Festival and members of the MLK merchants association have been working hard on making the Strut happen.

Read more in tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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