The Bessie Smith Strut has become an iconic internationally renowned event for the Greater Chattanooga Region. While decision makers are right to raise security and safety concerns, the following recommendations are given with an intent to ease those concerns and to keep the essence and meaning of the Strut intact.
Begin the Strut with a Peace March: This should include some of our local high school bands. Some of our churches and clergy should offer a blessing of peace and unity for the community.
Set an Age Restriction: It cannot be ignored that there is concern than many younger attendees have a propensity to cause disturbances. Perhaps only those participating in the peace march or participating in performances should be allowed to attend.
Pat Downs and Searches: Every person entering the Strut should be required to show identification and be subject to a pat down. One of the local security firms that perform entertainment security and nightclub security could help perform this tasks.
Limit Entry and Exit Access to Strut: Along with pat downs and searches, there should be no more than four entry/exit points into and out of the Strut.
Begin to Implement MLK Neighborhood Plan: Local Government and merchants should meet to discuss the future of MLK Boulevard, and how to implement the MLK Neighborhood Plan.