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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Downtown Memphis Commission, Beale Street Management and City of Memphis announced a security fee will be implemented Memorial Day weekend along Beale Street.

Starting Friday, May 28, everyone will have to pay $5 to enter Beale Street after 10 p.m. It will also be implemented on Saturday and Sunday.

“It’s to enhance public safety on Beale Street. We want to make sure there’s no overcrowding on the street,” said Paul Young, president of the Downtown Memphis Commission.

Officials have implemented controversial fees to get on Beale Street in the past in an effort to reduce violence along one of Memphis’ most popular streets. Officials said it was a reasonable way to keep crowds low and help pay for security upgrades.

Young says since 2013 there have been 28 instances of stampedes when they’re not charging on Beale Street, but also said there was one during a time period when there was a fee.

“So, we know that it’s proven to prevent those types of occurrences from happening,” Young said. “We just want people to be able to come downtown and have a good time and be safe.” 

Critics of the plan pointed to other cities that don’t have a cover charge for popular entertainment districts.

Young said the security fee is different than the former Beale Street Bucks Program. In that case, people received vouchers for businesses. He said the $5 will go toward existing security, improvements on the street like fencing and cameras.