Chattanooga mayor: dilapidated river barge 'unacceptable'

Chattanooga mayor: dilapidated river barge 'unacceptable'

July 11th, 2013 by Mike Pare in Local - Breaking News

A barge that was once partially submerged along the north shore of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga now floats in a state of disrepair.

Photo by Staff File Photo/Times Free Press.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke

Photo by C. B. Schmelter/Times Free Press.

POLL: Should the barge be removed from Chattanooga?

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke has sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers calling a dilapidated barge moored across from the Tennessee Aquarium "unacceptable."

"Given the barge's appearance and condition, the debris originating from it, the unlikelihood that the barge project can be salvaged, and the barge's location, an ongoing permit allowing the barge to remain near Chattanooga's public downtown riverfront spaces is unacceptable to our community," he said in the letter dated last Tuesday.

Berke said he hopes the Corps will not allow the barge to remain permitted.

Chattanooga businessman Allen Casey floated the barge to the city from Pittsburgh in 2009 with the intention of putting in a New Orleans-style restaurant, a steakhouse and a bar.

The barge is moored to a vacant tract of land off Manufacturers Road, where Casey has said he's trying to put together financing for not just the restaurant project but a mixed use development on the parcel.

He recently cleaned up the barge after local officials criticized its condition.