Cover charge on Beale Street generates more than $300,000 in 2 months

Local News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – The Downtown Memphis Commission reported that the cover charge has generated just under $310,000 since May.

Jennifer Oswalt from the Downtown Memphis Commission said the cover charge will be used to add more lights, a police tower, and a better fence around Handy Park.

“We have set aside the money for safety and security measures only,” Oswalt said.

The Downtown Memphis Commission said the fee also helps with crowd control to help with safety.

“It just deters the crowd just enough to keep it safe,” Oswalt said. “So, it doesn’t change the demographics, it just slightly deters particularly young people who might not have an extra $5 from coming in mass and not really going into any business and just hanging out on the street which adds to overcrowding in the street itself.”

Lucille Catron, executive director of Beale Street Development Corporation, said the cover fee has been hurting sales for businesses in Beale Street.

She said the fee deters people from coming to Beale to spend money at the businesses.

“You don’t charge the citizens of Memphis that come onto a public street,” Catron said. “We all are responsible for security. All of the business owners on Beale Street are responsible for security.”

Catron said the city should be using its own money to fund more safety measures on Beale.

“The businesses are suffering,” Catron said. “We’re all suffering, because the traffic is not here.”

The Downtown Memphis Commission said the fee will happen on weekends until September.

Here is a breakdown of how much revenue has been collected from the initiative:

5/10-5/11 $28,780

5/16-5/18 $25,110

5/24-5/27 $77,330

5/31-6/1 $38,515

6/7-6/8 $25,460

6/14-6/15 $33,975

6/21-6/22 $32,765

6/28-6/29 $48,040

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