Station Street bar owners and city of Chattanooga agree to 30-day safety plan

Staff photo by Olivia Ross / Blue Light is seen April 21 after Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly signed an executive order mandating a curfew for Station Street businesses.
Staff photo by Olivia Ross / Blue Light is seen April 21 after Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly signed an executive order mandating a curfew for Station Street businesses.

Members of Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly's administration joined a group of Station Street business owners Thursday in announcing a new, 30-day safety plan for the district two weeks after Kelly issued an executive order mandating a curfew for the businesses.

The executive order issued April 20 has been lifted. Beginning Friday, business owners will again be able to stay open until 3 a.m. in the entertainment district, which includes Station Street.

However, the prohibition on open containers with alcohol outside of establishments during the weekend from 9 a.m. Fridays through 4 p.m. Sundays will remain in effect through the 30 days, as part of a modified executive order.

Also Thursday, the Chattanooga Beer and Wrecker Board handed out a three-day suspension to the Blue Light for failure to close at 1 a.m. in accordance with Kelly's original order.

Kelly issued the order mandating the bars and restaurants on Station Street stop serving alcohol at 12:30 a.m. and be closed by 1 a.m. in an effort to curb violence in the area. The order went into effect at midnight April 21, though Blue Light owner Brian Joyce told the board the wording was ambiguous.

"Chattanooga's nightlife is an important part of our vibrant culture, but a thriving nightlife must also be safe," Kelly said in his announcement of the executive order. "I'm taking executive action to hit reset on Station Street to ensure that our residents and tourists remain safe and that our local businesses are a part of a sustainable, long-term safety plan that allows our city to have a safe, thriving nightlife."

Officials said in a news release the new safety plan will:

— Add seven off-duty Chattanooga Police Department officers to patrol and provide services for Station Street from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., Friday nights through Sunday mornings, with the authority to make arrests or issue citations if warranted.

— Add two additional on-duty Chattanooga police officers to patrol the street from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., Friday nights through Sunday mornings.

(READ MORE: Chattanooga Beer and Wrecker Board suspends towing company after overcharging)

The city also is making a one-time investment of $40,000 for retractable bollards that will enable officials to close the street to vehicle traffic on weekends, further increasing safety on the street when it is most crowded.

Chris Anderson, a senior adviser to the mayor, said during the news conference that Stir, Boneyard, The Comedy Catch, Reagan's Retro Bar, Westbound and TailGate Brewery will share the expense for the cost of the officers, which he estimated to be between $5,600 and $6,000 per week for four weeks. The city will contribute $1,600 per week.

Blue Light

Joyce and his attorney, Scott Maucere, argued to the Beer Board the executive order's wording was unclear, and Joyce said it left open the option of remaining open for a private event at which no alcohol would be served.

The Blue Light hosted a private party for Bryan College students in the club that night. Joyce said all of the alcohol and beer taps had been moved to a back room per the request of the party planner and he didn't think the order applied to the Blue Light that night.

When officers arrived at 1:13 a.m. after getting a tip that the Blue Light was open, they spoke with the manager on duty, who said on police video she was told by Joyce the order didn't apply because the club was not serving alcohol.

Anderson told the board that he and Kelly's chief of staff, Joda Thongnopnua, met with Joyce and representatives of the Station Street businesses to explain the order applied to both alcohol sales and the curfew.

Vice Chairman Vince Butler said he would let the attorneys argue the semantics of the wording, but that it was his understanding the intent of the order was clear and was intended to stem some of the disturbances that had taken place on Station Street in recent weeks and months.

The Blue Light was found in violation of six beer code ordinances in 2022 and is on a 12-month probation after reaching an agreement with the city to come up with a security plan.

It is unclear what the new violation means for that agreement.

Reagan's Retro Bar was given a written reprimand by the board for failure to use a landline to report in a timely manner a fight between a security guard and a patron on the street.

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.

Upcoming Events