published Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Chattanooga: Groups call on Army Corps of Engineers to act quickly on barge

Workers collect scrap metal during a recent cleanup at the barge owned by Allen Casey on the north shore of the Tennessee River in downtown Chattanooga.
Workers collect scrap metal during a recent cleanup at the barge owned by Allen Casey on the north shore of the Tennessee River in downtown Chattanooga.
Photo by John Rawlston.
Letter from Ron Harr on barge issue
Letter from Ron Harr on barge issue
Letter from Bob Doak on barge issue
Letter from Bob Doak on barge issue

The heads of three local business groups have called on a federal agency to consider moving an unsightly barge from the riverfront.

“We understand that processing the violation may take time, but we encourage you to expedite the work and to consider moving the barge to some less conspicuous and less dangerous location immediately,” wrote Ron Harr, who heads the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, in a letter to two officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Bob Doak, who heads the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau, in a letter seeks a revocation of Casey’s permit and to “force him to remove this vessel as soon as possible from our downtown riverfront.”

Kim White, chief of the nonprofit downtown redevelopment group River City Co., called for the Corps to expedite its process and “order the removal of the barge.”

The barge is owned by Allen Casey, who declined to comment on the letters today.

The Corps has said its officials met with Casey on June 18 and gave him 90 days to complete corrective actions to bring his barge permit into compliance.

“Upon completion of the 90-day period, the Corps will make a decision whether to reinstate, modify or revoke the permit,” the agency said.

The barge has drawn complaints from residents and elected leaders including Mayor Andy Berke and U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and others.

Read more in tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

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