Chattanooga groups call on Army Corps of Engineers to consider barge move

Chattanooga groups call on Army Corps of Engineers to consider barge move

July 17th, 2013 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

The barge owned by Allen Casey is docked on the north shore of the Tennessee River in downtown Chattanooga.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

Document: Letter from Ron Harr on barge issue

Letter from Ron Harr, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Chamber, to the Corps of Engineers concerning the barge issue

Document: Letter from Bob Doak on barge issue

Letter from Bob Doak, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau, to the Corps of Engineers concerning the barge issue

The heads of three Chattanooga 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," Ron Harr, who heads the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, wrote in a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Bob Doak, who heads the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau, in a separate letter, asked the corps to revoke 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 Tuesday to comment on the letters. Casey moved the barge to Chattanooga in 2009 to open a restaurant and bar.

Corps 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., among others.