A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge today gave preliminary approval to a plan that could start the removal of a controversial downtown Chattanooga barge by early fall.
Judge Shelly Rucker said she would sign an order that would sell the barge to RCW Inc. The company plans to submit a plan to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dismantle the dilapidated vessel at its current mooring site on the Tennessee River across from Ross's Landing.
"It's excellent that we've got prospects of getting the problem solved," she said.
Chattanooga attorney Gary Patrick said RCW Inc. has 21 days to submit the removal plan to the Corps, which will have to give its OK.
Patrick said RCW plans to dismantle the rundown buildings which sit atop the barge, which businessman Allen Casey floated to Chattanooga from Pittsburgh in 2009. Casey had proposed a floating bar and restaurant, but it was never built.
It wasn't immediately known how long it will take RCW to do salvage operations.
Earlier this year, Casey and one of his companies filed bankruptcy petitions. They faced a civil trial over a lawsuit brought by a group of investors who claimed they were defrauded relating to a portino of an 11-acre tract adjacent to the barge. Casey has denied the allegations.
See more in Friday's Times Free Press.