Taxpayers to foot bill to clean up after Occupy Nashville - WSMV Channel 4

Taxpayers to foot bill to clean up after Occupy Nashville

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The Occupy Nashville protesters are mostly gone, but they are leaving a lasting impression on Tennessee taxpayers.

It's going to take a lot of state money to clean up the damage they caused on Legislative Plaza, and taxpayers will be footing the bill.

Early Friday, the tents came down, and the gear was loaded up and trucked off until only Chris Humphrey and his tent remained.

"My father and my grandfather were both veterans, and they fought for these rights that we have," Humphrey said.

But Friday afternoon, Kevin Thompson and his family didn't like what they saw on the plaza.

"The 99 percent left a mess on the plaza, and who is going to pay for that?" Thompson said.

The task for the state is now turning to clean up the plaza. According to state estimates, it will cost at least $18,000 to professionally pressure wash the plaza with special chemicals.

The state will also need to reposition and rebalance stones that were damaged by a heavy pallet of food and shifted by tent stakes. That will run $5,000.

There's also damage to the railings where tents were tied down, so add another $3,000 there.

Add fixes to lighting and landscaping, and you get a total bill of about $37,500.

In addition, Occupy has already cost the state $23,500 in increased maintenance and electrical costs.

While the nearly $61,000 is only a fraction of the state budget, some taxpayers say it's a lot of money to spend on fixing damage from a handful of protesters, and they don't think they should have to pay for it.

"Your right to protest shouldn't interfere with other people's rights not to have to pay higher taxes to clean up after your mess," Thompson said.

Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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