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Beale Street merchants drop $10 fee to help increase security presence

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Officials have stopped charging a $10 security fee to people who visit Beale Street during peak times.

The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/1xgdafv) reports Downtown Memphis Commission President Paul Morris shared the news in a letter Wednesday to Mayor A C Wharton.

"We understand that the fee was bad for business and unpopular with many, and we are confident that we can find another way to ensure public safety going forward in the event a new pattern of dangerous overcrowding develops," Morris wrote.

Among the options are requiring wristbands on some nights.

The security fee was collected on only two days — Aug. 17 and Aug. 24 — in an effort to control overcrowding and increase safety.

The fee for early Sunday morning was part of a plan merchants decided to put in place to keep things safe after "a series of public safety breaches" earlier in the summer that seemed to stem from overcrowding.

The street's leadership instituted the fee after an incident on Aug. 10 in which a man lay unconscious and bleeding for some time before he was helped.

Morris said in an interview that it appears the overcrowding problem has abated, but new measures would be considered if it develops again.

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Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com

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