I have a real problem with Chattanooga Mayor Berke's effort to chase off the Delta Queen.
Regardless, the Delta Queen is a small business and no government official should ever have the power to close down or run off a business because he or she just doesn't like it, that is all long as the business is legal and meets government regulations.
I've always been under the impression the river belongs to all who want to use it, there again, as long as the use is legal. What if I were mayor and I didn't care much for law offices in the downtown area. Could I force Berke's law offices to shut down or move to Dalton?
* * * *
I don't have a problem at all with the mayor wanting the Delta Queen to metaphorically move on down the road. I accidently heard Mr. Stiles waxing philosophically about how we just must keep it here, it's historical, it's different, it's awesome...yada-yada-yada. Truth is, it's old, falling apart, smells, looks completely out of place, and blocks whatever actual view might have existed, should you walk down to the river from Coolidge Park. Back in May I remember reading there was a "bidding war" to buy and move the Delta Queen and have it up and operating somewhere on the river again. Then I read that refurbishing it would cost about $7 million and I haven't heard much about the "bidding war" since.
I'm sure that since the river "belongs to all who want to use it" maybe we should move that other eyesore just down the way closer to the Delta Queen...we could have a matched set...dumb and dumber.
As far as law offices go, or hotels, or even Golden Arches, I don't really want any of them crammed up against CoOlidge Park blocking the view and sitting there like a giant square peg in a round hole. Maybe as a compromise it could be towed to another part of the riverfront. I'm sure there must be lots of folks that would love to have this precious piece of river history sitting in front of their waterfront property.
* * *
I write in response to recent reports of moving the Delta Queen out of Chattanooga. First, I must preface my remarks by saying I do not live in Chattanooga, but did grow up there.
It is very sad to me there are those who would prefer this historic vessel simply “go away.” As a child I remember the excitement when the Queen came through Chattanooga on one of her cruises. This 90 year old riverboat traveled all over the U.S. and was commissioned to carry troops and supplies in WWII. Over time she has had many famous passengers including presidents and British royalty. There are many aspects of her construction that are unique to the Delta Queen. It may not be in the best place to suit the city fathers, but I strongly disagree with recent comments she is an “eyesore.”
Rather than treat this treasure as trash, why doesn’t the city of Chattanooga embrace what they have? I read with humor those who say it blocks their views of the river. Was the same complaint made when the aquarium was built? I also read about the poor condition of the ship. Granted, she is not seaworthy at this time. However, I recently spent an incredibly relaxing and enjoyable evening onboard. My state room was clean, the service good and the breakfast fantastic. Others who stayed voiced the same opinion. I suggest you go on board and visit the vessel’s decks before criticizing this boat.
I understand economic issues etc. and the plight of the taxpayer. But a city that prides itself on tourism, as Chattanooga does, must understand the positive potential of the tourist dollar to any local community. It seems to me the Delta Queen should be made a critical piece of Chattanooga’s tourist infrastructure. It would pay off over time.
Are there no citizens groups etc. who would come in support of the Delta Queen? The small town of Franklin, Tn., has raised over $10 million to preserve battlefield land since 2005 and has become the sixth biggest tourist draw in the state. Surely Chattanooga has similar forward thinkers and a much bigger base to support such a cause.
Gregory L Wade
* * *
I agree with Rick Igou and Gary Wade. The Delta Queen is a great asset to Chattanooga and the area. It is a jewel on the river. If a artist was painting a picture of the riverfront, it most likely would include a paddle boat in the painting. We have one docked here.
Chattanooga's economy depends on tourism dollars to drive it. The beauty of Chattanooga draws tourist. The Delta Queen adds to that beauty.
I can't understand why people can say it is an eyesore. Some people don't like anything except complaining. I must admit that there are some eyesores on the river. The LP gas terminal is one of them. The sinking barge is another. Perhaps the mayor could concentrate on these eyesores. By the way, the only law offices I see near the park is Berke & Berke......go figure.