Mayor Andy Berke has renewed a call for removal of an "eyesore" barge along the downtown waterfront after owner Allen Casey filed bankruptcy.
Mayor Berke said in a letter to Army Corps Lt. Col. John L. Hudson of Nashville, "On July 9, 2013, I wrote to you requesting the revocation of a Section 10 permit for a barge presently located on the north side of the Tennessee River near the Olgiati Bridge. Even though the permit had been suspended on May 15 due to noncompliance, the unsightly and dangerous barge remains moored near Chattanooga's public downtown riverfront. Today, I would like to alert you to reports the the owner of the barge has filed for bankruptcy protection. With this most recent revelation, there is no doubt that our concern over the feasibility of the owner's proposed future plan for the barge is justified.
"Last fall, Debra Tuck of the Army Corps of Engineers acknowledge the Army Corps has fielded 'numerous inquiries and comments regarding the barge appearance, structural integrity, navigational safety, public and safety, and general concerns.' Ms. Tuck's statement mirrors the feedback I receive on a regular basis from concerned citizens. Given these factors, along with the now solidified unlikelihood that the project will never be salvaged, I can assure you that the renewal of a permit for the barge is unacceptable to the Chattanooga community. The barge detracts from our revitalized riverfront, presents numerous public safety concerns, and should be removed immediately.
"Again, I have copied individuals to this letter, in hopes of illustrating the concern our community has over this project and the impact the barge has on our city.
"I hope you will give due consideration to these factors and take swift action to ensure the removal of the barge. Thank you for your time and consideration."