(Memphis) It was quiet on Beale Street Monday afternoon, but it will be a very different story next week.
“Most hotels are packed already. We expect a tremendous crowd for New Year’s Eve,” says Beale Street Development Corporation Executive Director Randle Catron.
He says the Liberty Bowl Game and New Year’s Guitar Drop will draw tens of thousands. But it will be on the heels of a deadly shooting outside the controversial Beale Street Night Club, Crave.
With Monday morning’s triple shooting, Beale Street managers say the club that has given Beale Street a black eye landed another punch.
“There needs to be, from the District Attorney’s Office or the Mayor’s Office, someone needs to put their foot down and shut it down,” says Catron.
After a shooting with police outside Crave last year, the District Attorney’s office said it was looking at what can be done.
Just two months ago, a court gave the City of Memphis ownership of Beale Street.
“It just clears this cloud and we can get about maintaining Beale Street as the premiere entertainment place in the world,” Memphis Mayor A C Wharton told us back in October.
A new police station is even set up on Beale, right across from Crave. Still the violence hasn’t stopped.
Beale Street managers say they are ready, increasing security, especially for the New Year’s Eve crowd.
“A lot of officers present plus they will have those towers that go up to overlook the crowd,” says Catron.
Beale Street visitors say they won’t be deterred by the crime around Crave.
“I’ve been living downtown for 15 years. I wouldn’t hesitate to take anybody around and show them, especially this time of day,” says Joey Martin, who lives in Downtown Memphis.
“I’ve been down here a ton of times. Never bothered me. Never felt unsafe,” says Rick Edwards of Washington, DC.
We are told the terms of the city ownership of Beale Street are still being worked out. But one thing that ownership doesn’t include is Club Crave.
It’s owned by a private citizen and so far he hasn’t indicated he is selling.