• Beale Street Bucks rakes in more than $37K in first weekend since being reinstated

    By: Jacque Masse

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Beale Street Bucks program collected a little more than $37,000 in its first weekend since being reinstated.

    The program charges people $5 to get onto Beale Street at 10 p.m. during weekends in May.

    RELATED: Memphis city council votes to bring back controversial Beale Street Bucks program

    The money collected from Beale Street Bucks will go toward safety features like a fence around Handy Park, lighting and cameras. 

    Thousands are coming to Memphis for the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.

    Before any barbecue fans stroll down the iconic Beale Street they will have to pay a fee.


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    This will be the second weekend that Beale Street Bucks is in place. 

    "Right now, that seems to be the only solution that can mitigate and reduce the crowd size and help us maintain civil peace on Beale Street," said councilman Berlin Boyd.

    At the end of the month the Memphis city council will decide if it wants to keep the Beale Street Bucks Program.

    The program collected a total of $37,105 dollars last Friday and Saturday, according to the Downtown Memphis Commission. 

    The money will go towards safety features on Beale Street. 

    "Improving lighting in alleyways as well as on Beale Street, you see there is bollards installed on Beale Street all that money comes from proceeds from Beale Street Bucks," said Councilman Boyd.

    The Downtown Memphis Commission projects $644,000 would be collected if the program lasts until September.

    In its Beale Street Security Fee plan, it said $200,00 will go towards a fence around handy park, $30,000 each for lighting and cameras, and $75,000 annually for a joint operations center to monitor the cameras.

    Money is also set aside for bollards on Second Street and Rufus Thomas.

    The Downtown Memphis Commission would ask the city council for approval on spending.

    "Typically like the bollards and lighting for the alleyway everybody is fine with it because it’s proven safety measures," said Boyd.

    According to the commission, $452,000 was collected from Beale Street Bucks in 2017. 

    The money went toward bollards. 

    Residents like Patricia Smith think security measures like security cameras won't necessarily stop crime.

    "You probably need more boots on the ground and police officers. That’s the only thing that is going to help it," said Smith.

    Boyd believes one solution is figuring out where to place police officers.

    "Will those officers be used best to patrol and walk up and down Beale Street as a matter of presence? I think those things are what we need to talk about," said Boyd.

    The commission said $55,000 was collected from Beale Street Bucks in 2016. It went towards cameras, lighting, nonprofit organizations and other safety features.

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