U.S. Sen. Bob Corker today urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to keep in mind the "significant negative effects" that a rundown river barge has on Chattanooga's riverfront.
In a letter to the Corps, Corker noted that the barge moored on the Tennessee River across from the Chattanooga's riverfront is under review for being in non-compliance of its permit.
"Chattanooga has undertaken significant actions in recent years to develop its downtown," he said. "The beautification of the riverfront has been integral to this process and it would be disappointing to see the productive activities of hard working Chattanoogans undermined by allowing this partially sunken, dilapidated barge to mar the otherwise picturesque area."
Corker said in the letter to Lt. Col. James DeLapp, commander of the Nashville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, that it is "my sincere hope that you keep in mind the significant negative effects that this has on the community when making the decision whether or not to revoke its permit."
Barge owner Allen Casey said earlier this week that the barge will be cleaned up and won't be an embarrassment while he continues to put together financing for a floating restaurant and redevelopment of adjacent property.
"It will have to do until we get our money," he said.
It has been four years since Casey brought the barge to Chattanooga, and its deteriorating condition has drawn criticism.