Civic Leaders Want Bothersome Barge Off Northshore

Reported by: Webb Wright
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Updated: 5/17/2013 6:58 pm
        CHATTANOOGA (WDEF)--What started as an ambitious project for one Chattanooga developer, is bringing more flack from the community. Allen Casey owns the barge that's become known as the eyesore on the Northshore.
        "Even if he was able to get a restaurant, to even get to the property, park on the property, there's a lot of work that has to be done so we are talking years before something can actually happen. So I think four years is long enough for something like that to sit out there with no plans, especially right in the heart of our city," said Kim White, President and CEO of River City Company.
        "It's mostly about funding, so that's the same story I keep hearing and either fix it up and make it look right, or get it out of there but don't just leave it in the form that it's in," added Chip Baker, Executive Director with Friends Of The Festival.
        Senator Bob Corker is weighing in with a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers to *quote* "keep in mind the significant negative effects it has on the community...when deciding whether or not to revoke its permit.."
        "The fear is we have to go through a due process even though this has been going on for a long time. It could be even years before something is done," said White.
        Casey spoke with WDEF News 12 by phone this afternoon. He agrees it is a matter of raising money to build his restaurants. And he says he consulted with his attorney this afternoon on the pressure now being brought by the Army Corp of engineers.
        But others in the community say there's no more time for the project to shape up, it's time to ship out.
        "We have over three million tourists a year, we have billions of dollars that have been spent on the water front, we have cities that come here to learn how Chattanooga did it the right way and we always have to answer the question now about what in the world is going on with that disaster across the river," White said.
        In a release late this afternoon, Casey said, "We are continuing to comply with the requests of the U-S Army Corp of Engineers and plan to complete cleanup before next weekend. We just hope we meet everyone's expectations until we can deliver to the community the long awaited Steakhouse and Cafe on the River."
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