A primary purpose of the traditional "Bessie Smith Strut" on M.L. King Boulevard, as part of the Riverbend Festival every year, has been the promotion of good will and the generation of "happy times" for all of the participants in the Chattanooga community.
So it is deeply regrettable that current plans to move the Strut from King Boulevard to the Tennessee riverfront have stirred heated controversy, frustration and ill will -- all quite contrary to the original intent.
Many people obviously are greatly upset about the change. Some have engaged in heated demonstrations to express their disappointment.
Instead of promoting good will and a good time, the decision to change the site has generated unfortunate bad feelings.
City Councilman Andrae McGary, who represents the city district in which the Strut traditionally has been held, has called for the subject to be put on the next City Council agenda, in the form of a resolution that would back the M.L. King Merchants Association to host the event.
But the issue already has caused unfortunate emotional damage.
There obviously is no good solution. The controversy never should have occurred. But it is very important for all Chattanoogans to avoid letting this become a matter of lasting divisiveness and ill will.