ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) — During a tense meeting Thursday evening, Elizabethton city leaders approved a car club’s request to hold weekly cruise-ins downtown, but the events will begin a month later than usual this year.

In a split vote, the Elizabethton City Council approved a special events request by the Carter County Car Club.

After deliberating for nearly an hour, the council voted 4–3 to approve the club’s application for weekly events from May through October.

That moves the car club’s preferred start date back one month.

“This is the first time we’ve ever had a whole month off,” club president Thomas Franklin said. “We will be losing about $4,000 in revenue for the children.”

The club uses the event as a fundraiser for local children’s charities.

Some downtown merchants say moving the start date back to May isn’t enough of a compromise.

“That’s a lot of weekends,” said Justin McLane who owns Wayward Springs Tack and Consignment. “Your Saturday can make or break you. If you don’t have a good Saturday, the rest of your week is not going to it’s not going to keep you afloat.”

Though cruise-in supporters argue the event brings people into town to spend money at downtown businesses, McLane disagreed.

“The people who attend the car show don’t spend any money,” said McLane.

The car club has faced similar pushback in years past when applying for event approval with disruption of downtown businesses and trash cited as primary concerns.

Franklin said the club is working with Happy Valley High School to host car club events on their campus during the month of April. He said the club will vote on whether to move future cruise-ins to the high school.