Roy Exum: The Broad Street Stroll

Monday, December 4, 2017 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

David Roddy, after only weeks as the Chief of Police in Chattanooga, has the promise of becoming the best we’ve ever had. What you may not know is that if you were to put his wife and two daughters in a family photo, they may be the most beautiful family in America. What you also may not know is that Chief Roddy would not allow any one of his girls to make the Broad Street Stroll alone.

The stroll is the walk on Broad Street in the center of the city, from the Chattanooga Aquarium to the Read House. It goes from First Street to Martin Luther King, formerly Ninth Street, and for a single female to go from Point A to Point B is akin to one of Viet Nam’s best trying to cross the Demilitarized Zone.

Downtown Chattanooga is becoming a cesspool. Several buildings now have security guards, not to protect those inside but to keep the louts out. This is a big reason downtown businesses continue to fold up. Law enforcement must come down swiftly and hard. Judges must give heavy sentences --- forget “guidelines” – and the message that must be sent is “Not Here!”

The City Council must confront what has become a major problem and abolish the idea of any person walking with fear. A prominent executive, with an office several floors above the lobby, tells me he watches drug deals take place regularly in front of a small beer-tobacco eyesore on Broad.

City leaders thought they had enough evidence to shutter the drug den but a judge very wrongfully refused to do that.  The homeless use the stone planters as restrooms and any female who works in the downtown area has her own set of distasteful experiences to tell if anyone would listen. There have been numerous complaints but little visible action, according to one female who works at a downtown bank.

Just last Sunday a Chattanooga couple was robbed at gunpoint in front of Five Guys at Fourth and Broad. The victims were sitting outside when the perp, later identified as Raymond Dionte Hunter, brandished a black pistol, searched the man’s pockets at pistol-point, made the female empty her purse, and then took both the victims’ cell phones.

Fast police action caught the robber but a question lingers – Five Guys may have the best cheeseburger in town but how will they ever sell them with hoodlums collecting money at the door?

Any couple in our tristate community should not bear the threat of robbery on Broad Street two hours after church services end.

Chattanooga’s City Council needs to outlaw pan-handling within the city limits and anyone caught needs to go to jail. I mean it, if you want to make Chattanooga better, book ‘em. The same goes for vagrants who defecate in a sidewalk planter – they need a strong reason to never insult the public ever again. The last three times I have met someone at Panera’s I’ve been hounded by a different beggar each time.

The City Council has allowed stinkin’ thinkin’ to ruin Broad Street with the bike lanes and I’m now to the point of suggesting a public vote. If democracy truly rules, there is absolutely no way the biggest detriment to downtown Chattanooga would remain.

Better yet, let’s get the Queen of the River City Company, Kim White, to walk by herself from Miller Park down Market Street, turn at the Aquarium, and then sash-shay her way to the Read House.

We can get an undercover cop to stealthily follow about a half-block behind, her wearing a hidden body cam, and then we can debut the video at a City Council meeting.

We can award Kim’s dauntless daring at Starbucks with a tasty something like a “Grande, Quad, Nonfat, One-Pump, No-Whip, Mocha! (“quad” means four shots of expresso.)

It is only a matter of time before something terrible will happen. Now is the time to prevent it.

* * *


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