|Title of Practice:
Chattanooga, The Sustainable City
|City / Town / Village:
|Has this practice been submitted previously?
Office of the Mayor
Suite 100, City Hall
Tel: 1 423 757-5152
|Name of Contact Person:
|Email of Contact Person:
||The power of Chattanooga's example ofsustainability is not in the creativity or commitment of any one project,activity or sector, it is in the comprehensiveness of the approach and in theshared, local vision for a better future. Therefore, a mere listing of bestpractices does not do justice to the Chattanooga model. The City, in effect, is a best practice onits own.
Chattanooga's best practice is a cultural and economic whole, a vision andapplication of sustainability that includes, for example, rebuilt urban neighborhoods, affordablehousing, electric vehicle transit and research, eco-industrial parks, cleanwater and clean air initiatives, regional resource conservation and riverfrontdevelopment. The whole, however, isgreater than the sum of these many parts because it represents fundamentalchanges in civic culture. This renewedcivic culture is characterized by broad public participation in decisionmaking, willingness to address difficult issues with bold and creative action,a commitment to a better life for all citizens, respect for the naturalenvironment, and a promise to preserve opportunities for futuregenerations. This civic culture is thekey to Chattanooga's successes as described below.
|Norminating Organization Details
|Name of Organization:
||City of Chattanooga
|Type of Organization:
|Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce||1001 Market Street|
Tel:1 423 756-2121
|Vaughan, Jim, not provided||Para-statal||
|Chattanooga Hamilton Regional Planning Commission||200 City Hall Annex|
Tel: 1 423 757-5216
|Coulter, Ann, not provided||Central Government||
|City Hall||City Hall|
Tel: 1 423 757-5141
|Crockett, Dave, not provided||Local Authority||
Technology, Tools and Methods
In the last15 years, Chattanooga has become a city where ordinary citizens makeextraordinary things happen. Thesethings happen neither easily nor due to mere luck, but from a willingness tolisten to each other, to set high goals and work hard to reach them, and from aconcern about the nature of the community do we leave to our children.
Because of what ordinary Chattanoogans have done, we have gone from having thenation's most polluted air to one of the handful of cities meeting all nationalclean air attainment standards. Becauseof what ordinary citizens have done, a City, with no affordable housingstrategy and rapidly decaying urban neighborhoods, has become a model for thenation in revitalization through aggressive, affordable housing efforts. Building on more than a decade of citizen-based planning processes, the City's efforts are emerging as increasinglycomprehensive, coordinated and strategic in their design, and in seeking trulysustainable community development. Theseefforts are now recognized not only nationally, but around the world.
Like other American cities, Chattanooga has had to face the challenges of apost World War II economy. Suburbandevelopment drained the downtown of much of its retail and all of itsresidential development. The economicbase collapsed as traditional manufacturing jobs moved overseas; and many localcompanies closed down, laid off workers, and sold to outside interest. Racial conflict, poor schools and erodinginfrastructure reflected the general urban decline.
Attention was first drawn to the need for dramatic environmental changes in1969, when Chattanooga was named the worst polluted city in America. Since that time, concerted efforts bygovernment, business, community organizations, and citizens have resulted notonly in clean air, but also in a comprehensive, strategic process for achievinga sustainable community.
Advocates for the environment and proponents of economic development, once atodds in Chattanooga, now are working together. In 1990, when EPA recognized Chattanooga for its clean air attainment,the city was designated at the national Earth Day celebration as the nation's bestturn-around story. The collaborationbetween manufacturers, government agencies, and citizens that enabledChattanooga to clean up the air established a precedent that is now a part ofthe civic culture. Public-privatepartnerships are just the way we do business now.
Numerous collaborative efforts have generated the capital resources, thepolitical commitment, and the civic momentum to tackle complex issues such asaffordable housing, public education, transportation alternatives, conservationof natural resources, air and water pollution, recycling and job training,riverfront development, and neighborhood revitalization.
Community involvement and participatory planning have been key factors in ourability to revitalize. In 1984, Vision2000 offered all citizens the opportunity to envision what they wanted thecommunity to be by the year 2000. Fortygoals emerged from the process that helped focus public and private investmentin downtown and neighborhood revitalization, development of affordable housing,and social and educational programs. These investments have stimulated the local economy, expanded the jobbase, and helped create a "can-do" civic attitude.
In 1991, years of community efforts became the foundation for an integratedstrategic plan, called "Target 96." The plan was made up of 94 recommendations,with the aim of establishing the Chattanooga region as a living laboratory forenvironmental, economic, and educational initiatives towardsustainability. This plan was reinforcedby the results of Revision 2000 which, in 1993, invited residents back togetherto set forth a broad range of goals embracing social, economic, and educationalconcerns. In 1994, an aggressive,economic development strategy incorporated the environment as one of thecentralizing themes. The stage has thus been set for a positive step into thenext century, with the projects briefly described below, representingcomponents of Chattanooga's sustainable community strategy.
A. CLEAN AIR: Chattanooga attained clean air statusthrough the collaborative efforts of government, industry, and citizens and wasrecognized as one of the best turn-around stories in the nation.
B. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION AND COMMUNITYVISION: Public participation in planningand the community-wide visioning process was essential in empowering thecommunity.
C. RIVERFRONT AND GREENWAYDEVELOPMENT: Developing the riverfrontwas the first step in building awareness and generating the basis for aneconomic development strategy based on the environment. A county-wide network of linear parks alongstreams and natural areas has emerged from partnerships of grass rootsorganizations, public agencies, and local businesses.
D. AFFORDABLE HOUSING: A local effort to alleviate substandardhousing has become a national model for housing rehabilitation, community-basedfinancing, and neighborhood revitalization.
E. EDUCATION REFORM AND ENVIRONMENTALEDUCATION: Community and parentalinvolvement has resulted in structural and curriculum reform in the schools,and "non-formal" educational programs have helped create a moreinformed public.
F. RECYCLING AND JOB TRAINING: The City's recycling program has a uniquepartnership with a rehabilitation center which specializes in job training forpeople with mental disabilities.
G. ELECTRIC BUS TECHNOLOGY ANDRESEARCH: Chattanooga has become atesting and manufacturing center for zero emission, electric-powered vehicles.
H. NATURAN RESOURCES: Reforesting the urban areas and protection ofthe natural forests have been key components of our natural resourcespreservation efforts.
I. SUPERFUND CLEAN-UP: Chattanooga's most challenging initiative isthe clean-up of Chattanooga Creek, a national Superfund site that traverseslow-income, inner-city neighborhoods.
J. INVESTING IN HUMAN POTENTIAL: Community-wide and neighborhood initiativesare helping to reinvest in human potential.
K. ECO-INDUSTRIAL PARKS: Rehabilitating abandoned industrial sites hasopened the door to an economic development strategy that incorporates theprinciples of sustainable development.
A. CLEAN AIR
In 1969, Chattanooga was designated the "worst polluted city" in thecountry. Its industrially-producedpollution was compounded by the area's topography of ridges and valleys thathindered pollution dispersion. Chattanooga led the nation in particulate levels and was second only toLos Angeles in ozone levels.
Deteriorating visibility and rising claims of pollution-related illnesses motivatedcitizens, government, and industry to form a coalition to remedy thesituation. The result was the creationof the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Board. The Board placed restrictions on almost allair pollution causing activities, limited visible emissions from localindustries, and set an attainment date of October, 1994. By the deadline, every major pollution sourcein the county was in compliance at a cost of over $40 million dollars, bornemostly by local industries.
In 1990, Chattanooga was declared in attainment for all national standards,making it one of a few Southeastern cities to be so designated. The success of cleaning up the air set thestage for the city's ability to lead future urban environmental initiatives.
This success was a critical step toward integrating environmental protectionwith economic development. The Board,governed by a volunteer body of local citizens and industry representatives,continues to develop and support initiatives that prevent or minimizepollution, while encouraging sustainable development. It actively works with industry to find new,less costly ways of doing business that are also environmentally friendly.
B. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION AND COMMUNITY VISION
In 1984, at the invitation of governmental and private sector leadership, morethan 1,700 people participated in a series of community visioning meetingscalled Vision 2000, which resulted in a "Commitment Portfolio" of 40goals for the year 2000. The goals ofVision 2000 brought many initiatives to the public agenda and paved the way forcommunity collaboration to address the goals. An organization created specifically in recognition of the need forcitizen involvement in Chattanooga's future, Chattanooga Venture, served as asupport structure for the citizen task forces and public-private partnershipsthat emerged in response to the community's expressed vision.
More than 85 percent of the Vision 2000 goals have been fully or partiallyaccomplished, resulting in $800 million in new investments in thecommunity. Accomplishments -- allpublic-private initiatives -- include the Tennessee Riverpark, TennesseeAquarium, Bessie Smith Hall, Creative Discovery Museum, Spouse Abuse Shelter,and the Human Relations Commission, in addition to the restoration of theTivoli Theatre, Memorial Auditorium, andthe Walnut Street Bridge.
Nine years after that first call to the community, ReVision 2000 invited thecommunity back together. The processresulted in 27 new goals, again reflecting the diversity of the community'seconomic and social needs. A VisionCommittee, representing civic, neighborhood, political, and business life, wasformed in the fall of 1994 to ensure citizen involvement, as the communitymoves to address the ReVision 2000 goals in an evolving process essential toChattanooga's social, economic, and environmental transformation.
The public visioning process was essential to overcoming the feeling ofpowerlessness among many low and middle income citizens and in creating ashared vision that integrated social and economic concerns.
C. RIVERFRONT AND GREENWAY DEVELOPMENT
The Tennessee River was the origin of the settlement that becameChattanooga. As the town and city grew,we neglected the river, polluted its tributaries, and forgot our primalconnection with it. In recent years, wehave turned our attention and our future toward the river once more, as a focalpoint for public life, for appreciation of nature, for economic development,and education. The greatest physicalsymbol of the City's revitalization and its focus on sustainable development isthe Tennessee Aquarium and its adjacent Riverwalk.
The Tennessee Riverpark Master Plan called for mixed-use development, with apark and trail system to parallel the river for 20 miles, highlighting thenatural and historic features along the river. Since the first phase opened in 1986, the Tennessee Riverpark hasexceeded all expectation as a community gathering place and economiccatalyst. By 1995, with seven miles ofriverwalk complete, one million people have used the park each year; and $317million dollars have been invested in development along the river.
Ross's Landing Park and Plaza, at the site of the city's founding, has becomethe community's front porch. The Plaza,built on the former site of abandoned buildings, now surrounds the TennesseeAquarium. With a design based on thehistory and ecology of the area, this place teaches visitors about thecommunity and its environment, transforms the urban landscape, and links thedowntown to the Riverpark.
Opened in 1992, the Tennessee Aquarium was built with $45 million dollars inlocal, private funds. It generated $133million in economic activity in its first year alone and has attracted overfour million visitors since its opening. Highlighting the region's freshwater creatures and river system, theAquarium is not only the cornerstone of Chattanooga's riverfront and economicdevelopment, but also an education center, communicating the interconnectednessand interdependency between the built environment and the natural systems of arichly diverse bioregion.
Chattanoogans have identified the river and streams, forested mountains, andlush valleys as some of the community's most valuable resources. The Tennessee River Gorge Trust was createdby a group of Chattanooga citizens in 1986 in partnership with the TennesseeRiver Gorge, the largest river gorge east of the Mississippi River and home tomore than 1,000 species of plants and animals. Today, the Trust has protected more than half the targeted area andcontinues to contribute to Chattanooga's tradition of turning grass rootsenergy and vision into a catalyst for a large and ambitious project.
The goals of the Chattanooga Greenways Program are to develop a county-widenetwork of linear parks linked to the Riverpark; to protect critical naturalareas along creek corridors; to provide recreational opportunities for allcitizens; and to offer an alternative transportation mode. One of the highlights of the greenway systemis the 180 acre Greenway Farm. Formerlya working farm, the Farm is now the site of an environmental education programfor thousands of school children, annually. With the help of the Trust for Public Land and the National Park Service,this effort has already protected over 1,500 acres of land in the county. Chattanooga is one of three cities in theU.S. chosen by the National Park Service for a model greenway system.
D. AFFORDABLE HOUSING
As in many other American cities, by the early 1980's, economic and socialtrends had contributed to severe shortages of safe, affordable housing inChattanooga. Not only were low andmoderate (often elderly) home owners unable to afford or finance critical home repairs, increasingnumbers of families could not afford to buy a home; and many could not affordor locate decent rental housing. Realizing that home ownership was a key to neighborhood prosperity andstability and that residential areas are essential to a healthy downtown, civicleaders created an ambitious partnership in 1987 to alleviate substandardhousing and revitalize neighborhoods. This partnership, known as CNE or Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise,is one of Chattanooga's most successful public-private partnerships.
CNE uses market sector strategies to restore deteriorated, inner-cityresidential areas and create new home ownership opportunities forlow-to-moderate income families. Usingfunding from all levels of government and private contributions as leverage,CNE is able to access the large amounts of capital needed for this scale ofhousing rehabilitation and neighborhood revitalization from conventionallenders. CNE's flexible lending programsallow even very low income families to realize better housing. Approximately 49% of the over 60,000households in the area meet CNE's incomeguidelines.
Over 3,460 family housing units have been produced, rehabilitated, or financedby CNE since 1987, representing an investment of $91 million. CNE also owns and/or manages almost 300 unitsof affordable, rental housing and provides emergency repairs and homeimprovement loans for existing home owners who meet income criteria. A variety of funding alternatives, includinga combination of local and national conventional capital, enables Chattanoogansto purchase affordable homes for as little as $840 to $1,000 total cahdown-payment at closing, as long as they have completed CNE's innovative homebuyer education program. Loan repaymentsand proceeds from the sale of loans on the secondary market provide asustainable pool for helping more families in the future. CNE also involvesresidents in the process of planning for neighborhood improvements and supportsthem in projects that enhance the neighborhood's appearance and safety. Theeducational and participatory nature of the program ensure a greaterprobability that the improvement in the neighborhood will be sustained by theresidents and the neighborhood associations.
Administrated by a volunteer board of local public and private citizens, CNEreceives federal, state, and local public funds, financing from private lendinginstitutions, and private funds from a local charitable foundation. CNE was recently one of two cities in thestate to be awarded $2 million dollars for its downtown housing strategy. In 1994, it received a prestigious Urban LandInstitute design award for its affordable housing subdivision, Orchard Village.
E. EDUCATION REFORM AND ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION
High quality education is at the core of Chattanooga's vision for a sustainablefuture. A community-wide commitment hasspurred several public-private initiatives that have resulted in more resourcesbeing available for schools and the development of new organizationalpractices, curricular, and methods of instruction and training.
In a recent public referendum, citizens of Chattanooga voted to merge the nowseparate city and county schools. A36-member planning committee, comprised of parents, educators, students, andcivic and business leaders, was established to set forth a bold, new vision forlocal public education. As the committeebrought this vision into focus, business and higher education leaders forged acompact to offer graduates priority for employment and advanced education.
The "Together We Can" Scholarship and Support Program is apartnership between the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga and CityGovernment, which pays the college tuition for students. Any student in the City school system whograduates with a "C" or better average and has a family income of$8,500 or less may participate. To date,over $3,450,000 has been contributed to the fund by the City, the Foundation,and private donors; and 126 students are enrolled in college programs.
The Public Education Foundation had its genesis in a $1 million City endowmentin schools. That public investment trustcaused private investors to invite the city to join them as they created afoundation to attract major, private gifts in support of the publicschools. The Foundation emphasizesprofessional development, supports teachers in having a voice in the prioritiesand practices of the schools, assists principals in developing a more collegialatmosphere, and helps faculties better understand the challenges of diversity.
Partners for Academic Excellence (PACE) promotes parental and communityinvolvement in the schools and formed a partnership ten years ago with the Cityand County schools to develop a parent involvement program. Funding is through local, private donors, theCity of Chattanooga, and the McConnell Clark Foundation. During the past three years, over $300,000has helped more than 800 students and their parents and teachers.
The Challenger Center at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga opened inJanuary of 1995 with $2.2 million in funding from private donors, the City andCounty governments, and support from the University system. The Center provides advanced educationaltraining in science and technology to teachers and students. Educational offerings have benefited over10,000 students and educators in schools all across the region.
Ongoing, community-oriented programs in the non-formal education arena havebeen essential to building broad-based, public involvement in and support forlocal sustainable initiatives. Years ofenvironmental education program offerings have raised awareness about theconnections between the preservation of natural resources and the health of thecommunity, including job creation, healthy lifestyles, and educational opportunities. Many of the sustainable developmentinitiatives in Chattanooga are possible today because of a greater appreciationfor these connections by the general population, and because of partnershipsthat have emerged among divergent interests working together for common goals.
The Environmental Forums in 1991 and 1992 brought together governmentalagencies, business leaders, and citizen groups for the first time to address abroad range of environmental problems and to consider positive, workable solutions. As a result, environmental improvement becamesynonymous with community improvement; and many initiatives rose to the top ofthe community's agenda.
The Chattanooga Environmental Education Alliance, formed in 1991, is one of themost action-oriented associations in the community. Thirty five groups are members and representenvironmental education centers, environmental organizations, and governmentagencies who are involved in environmental education programming for thepublic, schools, and teachers. Alliancemembers jointly sponsor Earth Day activities and work together on communityinitiatives such as the President's Council on Sustainable Development meetingheld in Chattanooga in January, 1995.
F. RECYCLING AND JOB TRAINING
The Orange Grove Center is a private, non-profit organization established in1953 to help improve the lives of children and adults with mentaldisabilities. It provides acomprehensive range of services, including therapy, education, day care, summerprograms for children, supportive housing, job training and placement, andfamily counseling.
A unique partnership between the City of Chattanooga and Orange Grove allowsChattanooga to recover materials from the community waste stream and returnthem to the manufacturing stream. Thisprocess helps to develop a "waste-based economy" and reduces thedependence on non-renewable resources. In the process, recovery of recyclable wastes become a viable job forpeople who have a hard time finding appropriate employment; and the resultingproduct is sold to manufacturers for reuse.
The Orange Grove Recycling Center provides jobs and training for approximately110 mentally challenged adults. Thefacility receives recyclables from 55,000 Chattanooga homes, plus the collectionsfrom municipal, community, and corporate drop-off centers. It processes over 1,000,000 pounds per monthand diverts this amount from local landfills.
The sorting method is labor-intensive and, therefore, produces a higher qualityof sorted material than mechanized methods. Not a single bale of material has ever been rejected by an end user dueto missorting. The recycled productcoming from Orange Grove is purchased by local businesses and made intoproducts that are used regionally. As aresult, a "cradle to cradle" manufacturing system has been createdfrom the municipal waste.
The operating cost of Orange Grove is roughly one-tenth the amount currentlyspent by other mid-sized cities. Thestructure and technique of the Orange Grove Recycling Center is one that can bemodified to fit almost any community.
G. ELECTRIC BUS TECHNOLOGY AND RESEARCH
In less than two years, Chattanooga has put itself on the map as a world leaderin electric vehicle technology. A localeffort to find a transportation system to link downtown and boost a strugglingretail economy led to this initiative. Not only is a new fleet of non-polluting, electric buses graduallyreplacing the old diesel buses in Chattanooga, but the electric vehicles areactually being manufactured in Chattanooga by a private company, AdvancedVehicle Systems, and sold to other cities. Thirty five new jobs have been created as a result.
Chattanooga now has the largest operating fleet of electric buses in thenation. The buses run on a circulardowntown route and help to reduce downtown traffic congestion and parkingproblems. With a $16 million federalgrant and matching local dollars, the City's Chattanooga Area Regional TransitAuthority (CARTA) is building three parking garages on the shuttle route to getmore people out of their cars and onto the non-polluting buses. Income from the garages will ultimately coverthe cost of providing the shuttle.
There are two other components in Chattanooga's electric vehicle story: Electrotek, an electric vehicle test facilitypreviously owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority and privatized in 1988, andthe Electric Vehicle Transit Institute, formed in Chattanooga to promote theuse and development of electric transit vehicles throughout the nation. Chattanooga's electric vehicle program hasled to the city's involvement in more than a dozen technology developmentprojects, including work with the U.S. Department of Defense, DelcoRemy/Allison Division of General Motors, and the 1996 Olympic Committee.
Chattanooga is helping to remove the barriers to the commercial availability ofelectric vehicles. Purchase prices forbuses manufactured in Chattanooga are now comparable to those of diesel buses,and their life cycle costs are substantially lower. Electric bus technology is not only providingChattanooga and other cities with a clean alternative for transportation, butis also bringing new jobs and revenues to the community.
H. NATURAL RESOURCES
The Southern Appalachian Mountain supports one of only two deciduous temperaterainforests in the world. The SequatchieValley is one of the world's largest rift valleys, and the Tennessee River isthe fifth largest river in the U.S. These abundant, natural resources provide the region with a dramaticlandscape valued for scenic beauty, as well as for a rich biodiversity of bothplant and animal species.
A strategy that links preservation of natural resources to business developmentand job creation has led to successful riverfront development initiatives, theexpansion of the greenways system, and additions to the urban park program.
Re-establishing trees and plants to the urban setting has been incorporatedinto planning and design efforts. Theprogram is a private-public partnership between Chattanooga's Urban ForestryDepartment and Krystal Farms, a private corporation. Trees and shrubs are grown and harvested atthe farm property and planted in the downtown area by the urban forester. The trees are given to volunteerbeautification programs, neighborhood initiatives, and public parks.
Abundant forest and water resources enhance tourism and provide a manufacturingand industrial base for the region's economy. Challenges for local communities in the region include how to manage theuse of these resources for emerging environmental businesses, while maintainingthe current and future job base associated with manufacturing andforestry. Large tracts of land in thewatershed are privately or federally owned which complicates thedecision-making ability of local communities.
I. SUPERFUND CLEAN-UP
In South Chattanooga, the Superfund Clean-Up of Chattanooga Creek offers thegreatest challenge and the greatest opportunity to implement the principles ofsustainable development. ChattanoogaCreek, declared a Superfund site in 1994, is one of the most polluted creeks inTennessee. Three public housingdevelopments, six schools, and three recreation centers are located in thevicinity.
Industry and business, along with government agencies, are involved in strategicplanning with South Chattanooga neighborhoods through community advisorypanels, community safety panels, park projects, greenway development, andacademic sponsorships. Recently,vocational training and job creation for area residents were integrated intoremediation action carried out by a large corporation.
In spite of local progress, barriers still remain at the federal level in termsof decisions on technology applications, regulatory relief, and time-frameminimization. Other barriers includeimperfect environmental laws that impose unending liability upon those whootherwise would redevelop degraded sites.
Under current federal Superfund laws, a new owner can become liable forcontamination already in place and face open-ended clean-up costs shouldstandards change at any time in the future. The implications of these laws extend to the community by promotingdevelopment of virgin suburban land at a high cost to the local tax base anddiscouraging the reuse of abandoned industrial sites in the inner-city.
Partnerships and creativity need to occur among federal agencies andcontractors that enhance rather than inhibit local initiatives for sustainabledevelopment. Environmental regulationsand policies can serve as incentives for sustainable development in much thesame way as economic incentives serve to promote business, job creation, andcommunity revitalization.
J. INVESTING IN HUMAN POTENTIAL
Invest in Children, a United Way of Greater Chattanooga initiative startedthree years ago, has as its purpose the goal of enabling each child to have asafe, healthy, and wholesome start in life. If a child and its family get the support they need early in life, theywill do better all along the way; and the need for remedial services will be greatlyreduced. By playing the role offacilitator, Invest in Children increases the community's awareness ofopportunities to support children and families, and brings leaders, serviceproviders, and grass roots representatives to the table to forge consensus anddevelop resources. In a recent publicforum, 500 men, women, and children from all walks of life answered thequestion, "What should we do to make Chattanooga the best place to be bornand to grow up?" Invest in Childrenis now developing strategies to implement their suggestions.
The Westside Development initiative is a compelling example of buildingcommunity from the inside out. In aneighborhood which has a population of 2,800; 1,400 of whom are elderly; 760 ofwhom are children; and 640 of whom are non-elderly adults; a collaboration ofresidents and community partners, including foundations, the Junior League ofChattanooga, and City government, have set goals and developed resources toredefine the Westside. An abandonedschool and a deteriorating commercial strip are the cornerstones fordevelopment opportunities. But therenaissance is more spiritual than project specific. The residents of the Westside want torecreate their lives and take hold of their futures. They will do it through ready access tohealth care in an on-site medical home, available family counseling support,job opportunities and training, and recreational alternatives to badbehavior. Safety is a key issue. Personal responsibility is a majortheme. The residents of the Westside areturning their lives around, and they have the help of the entire community asthey do it.
K. ECO-INDUSTRIAL PARKS
The Chattanooga metropolitan area is in the middle of an aggressive economicdevelopment effort that includes an eco-industrial park initiative.
The South Central Business District was formerly the site of metal foundries,various industries, warehouses, railroad tracks, and worker housing. Today, the landscape is characterized bydilapidated structures, vacant buildings, and surface parking lots. Reclaiming this valuable land near the heartof the city and turning it into economically productive and environmentallysound activities for businesses, residents, and tourists has inspired the mostambitious and creative plan that the city has ever undertaken.
Because the area is central to the future livability of the city, it wasconsidered important that the plan be produced with public input from localresidents, business people, property owners, workers, and communityleaders. Public meetings and a designworkshop with over 100 people resulted in a concept that gives real substanceto environmental city aspiration:
- A zero emissions zone where thewaste of one business becomes the fuel for another.
- An ecological research center which servesas a biological remediation center as well as office incubator, educationalresource, and visitor's center.
- An environmental conference andtraining center as part of the Trade Center
- A Sports stadium integrated into thefabric of the city with multi-use parking and landscaping.
- Housing, greenways, commercial developmentand electric transit interfacing
The South Central Business District Plan showcases sustainable developmentpractices in the downtown on former industrial sites, fosters the use ofenvironmental technologies, leverages public and private investments, andattracts environmentally sound business and services.
Already, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the State of Tennessee, the City andCounty governments, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and the CarterStreet Corporation are partners in the development site. Nearly $1 million dollars have been awardedfor the first phases of planning and development.
1969 - Chattanooga designated as having most polluted air in the nation.
1984 - Chattanooga Vision 2000 visionary project conducted.
1986 - First phase of Tennessee Riverpark opens.
1987 - Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise established to create affordablehousing program.
1988 - Electric Vehicle Transit Institute established.
1988 - Orange Grove Recycle Center opens for operation.
1990 - City named as air pollution success story by reaching all federal airquality standards.
1991-2 - $45 million Tennessee Aquarium opens on riverfront as world's largestfresh water aquarium.
1994 - Orange Grove Recycling Center expands, creating 110 jobs for disabledadults and diverting 1,000,000 pounds per month from local landfills.
1995 - Seven miles of Riverwalk complete with one million visitors each year,and $317 million invested in riverfront development.
1995 - Affordable housing program has produced, financed, or rehabilitated3,460 family housing units since 1987.
1995 - 126 local high school graduates in higher education due to CityCommunity Foundation Scholarship Program.
1995 - Challenger Center opens with $2.2 million of public and private funding.
1995 - City selected as host city for January meeting of President Clinton'sCouncil for Sustainable Development.
1995 - City has largest national fleet of electric buses.
See Project Narrative
In 25 years, Chattanooga changed from "worst polluted city" to thebest turn-around example by reaching all federal air quality standards.
Protect 1,500+ acres of environmental sensitive land.
A 180 acre environmental education farm was established for thousands of school children.
Built a $45 million, world's largest fresh water aquarium which has generated$133 million in economic activity, and serves as an education centerdemonstrating the interdependency between the built environment and the naturalsystem.
Citizens form a trust organization to protect 25,000 acres in the TennesseeRiver Gorge.
Over 3,460 housing units were built, rehabilitated, or financed representing aninvestment of $91 million.
85% of CNE home buyers are minority; 45% are female head of households.
126 very low-income students are able to go to college because of City CommunityFoundation Scholarship Program.
Challenger Center, a space educational center built with $2.2 million of publicand private funding, has provided advanced educational training in science andtechnology to over 10,000 students and educators in the region.
Reduce over 5,000 tons of solid waste per month.
Provide job and training for 110 mentally challenged adults.
Has the largest national fleet of electric buses which has created 35 new jobs,and has reduced downtown traffic congestion and parking problems.
Helps to reduce the purchase prices for electric bus, to be comparable to thoseof diesel buses.
Replanted trees and shrubs in urban setting.
Selected as host city for January meeting of President Clinton's Council forSustainable Development.
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