Local I-Team: Beale Street cover charge nets more than $750,000

Local News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – The numbers are in for Beale Street’s summer $5 weekend cover charge. The Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC) says they made more than $750,000 from the fee.

On 21 weekends, from May through September, people visiting Beale later at night would often have to pay a $5 dollar security fee to get on the street.

“It worked really well for us, kept all the bad elements away,” said business owner Tater Red.

Business owners like Tater Red support the $5 charge. Others, like James Lewis Clark, the owner of Eel Etc. Fashions, isn’t a huge fan.

“It is keeping people that might resent the fact they gotta pay from coming,” said Clark.

So, what will be done with the money? According to the DMC, last year almost 204,000 people were charged the security fee. The DMC netted almost $764,0000 from it. The money made will go to improvements in the district. Almost $20,000 will go to improve ally lighting. $25,000 will be spent improving surveillance cameras.

There are plans to buy a new police skywatch camera. A large portion of the money will be used to make improvements to Handy Park, including lighting and a new fence.

“During the day, when it’s not meant to be a security fence, it can be something nice for the community but then fully secure and not climbable or passable, said Jennifer Oswalt with the Downtown Memphis Commission.

The cover charge was put in place to help prevent unruly crowds and violence this summer. The DMC will present these numbers to city council who will decide if the cover charge will continue next summer.

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