MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The city council has voted in favor of a Beale Street cover charge extension.
In the meeting on Tuesday, Memphis Police Department director Mike Rallings requested to extend the $5 cover charge on Friday and Saturday nights over the next few months.
Rallings said it would help with crowd control and studying the charge’s long term impact on activity on the street.
He also requested the charge because as recently as this May, security on Beale threatened to walk off the job if something wasn’t done.
“I encourage anybody to go down to Beale Street at 1 o’clock in the morning on Friday or Saturday and then ask yourself what can we do to make this safer and this is about crowd control,” Ralling said.
The cover charge was recently enacted by the council for use on weekends in May, including Memorial Day weekend, which is a busy time on the street according to authorities.
Even with the charge in place this Memorial Day weekend, police had two crowd surges which they brought video of for council members to see.
Council Chair Kemp Conrad says the $5 fee could help close the security gap on Beale by providing funds to implement recommendations laid out by a crowd control consultant like better lighting.. more cameras and repaired fencing.
“It just makes sense. All the money from this fee goes to fund about another 400 thousand dollars in security upgrades which will further keep Memphians and visitors safe,” Conrad said.