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Tennessee Riverpark and Chattanooga Greenways Plan

In 1994, the City of Chattanooga contracted with the Trust for Public Land to assist the community in establishing a unified greenway system and management entity.

Map of Tennessee

PROJECT HISTORY

The Tennessee Riverpark and Chattanooga Area Greenways System represent this community's efforts to provide residents open green space for recreation and to preserve and protect our natural environment. The vision to create a better community based on an old and valued resource - the Tennessee River, stemmed from community meetings of the Moccasin Bend Task Force in the mid-1980's.

photo: Along Chattanooga's Tennessee Riverpark and Greenways System
Along Chattanooga's Tennessee Riverpark and Greenways System

One of the most engaging and popular projects to emerge from these strategy sessions was the Tennessee Riverpark: a continuous circuit of parks, trails, and landmarks that would stretch twenty miles from Chickamauga Dam through downtown Chattanooga to Moccasin Bend.

"To preserve and enhance our natural and historical riches, carefully blending them with high quality private developments at suitable sites along the river corridor." With these guiding principles, the objective of the Tennessee Riverpark is to make the riverfront accessible to Chattanooga and Hamilton County citizens and visitors. It marks the return of "people places" to the waterfront of our community and brings a renewed appreciation of our natural resources.

In addition to trail segments along the River, our creeks and ridges also offer beautiful settings for recreation. In 1994, the City of Chattanooga contracted with the Trust for Public Land to assist the community in establishing a unified greenway system and management entity. Grass roots efforts are now underway in several parts of the community to plan and build these trails and parks.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The initial Riverpark segments have been tremendously successful, and attract hundreds of visitors daily. Phase One contains five fishing piers, two miles of riverfront trail, a forty-acre public park with boat launching ramps and parking. The park also includes picnic facilities, trail shelters, restrooms, a playground and a multi-purpose pavilion. It opened in 1989 at a cost of $ 5.5 million with funding from the State of Tennessee, the City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County, The RiverCity Company and other private donations.

Subsequent phases of the Tennessee Riverpark and Greenways System include:

Ross's Landing Plaza

A unique $10 million public plaza surrounding the Tennessee Aquarium.

Walnut Street Bridge

Over one hundred years old, this bridge was closed to vehicular traffic in the 1970's and reopened in 1993 as a pedestrian "linear park".

Bluff Furnace Segment

Provides a link between the Tennessee Aquarium, the Hunter Art Museum, River Gallery Sculpture Park, the Walnut Street Bridge, a future Bluff Furnace historical exhibit and the Maurice Martin Amphitheatre.

North Chickamauga Creek Greenway

The design and construction of this 1.25-mile greenway was provided by the Tennessee Valley Authority. Upon completion, TVA granted the City of Chattanooga a permanent recreation easement and the City assumed the management and maintenance responsibilities. This trail provides a connection to Greenway Farm - a farm located within the city that is being transformed into an environmental education center.

INVOLVEMENT

The Tennessee Riverpark is a remarkable achievement of public and private cooperation. The Moccasin Bend Task Force, RiverValley Partners, local charitable foundations and private individuals have worked in conjunction with the City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County, the State of Tennessee, and the federal government - all playing integral roles in the planning, financing, construction, and management of the various Tennessee Riverpark segments.

Earlier this year the City of Chattanooga contracted with the Trust for Public Land for assistance in developing a city-wide greenways system. A citizen task force representing several grassroots greenway initiatives was appointed to work with TPL. The National Park Service - Rivers and Trails Division has also played a major role in this effort.

FUTURE GOALS

Eventually trails along our river, creeks and ridges will form a continuous greenway system providing recreation opportunities for all residents, protection of our natural environment and alternative transportation links between neighborhoods, businesses, schools and other destinations.

PRESENTATION OPTIONS

Site visits to some existing Riverpark and Greenway segments (could include a catered lunch). Presentations (on site) highlighting the planning, funding, design and construction. Discussion of the project's success and future goals.

CONTACTS

Karen Hundt (Tennessee Riverpark) Riverfront - Downtown Planning - Design Center, Second Floor - Miller Plaza

850 Market Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402; 615-266-5948 FAX: 615-266-2757

Jim Bowen (Tennessee Riverpark) RiverValley Partners, 835 Georgia Avenue

Chattanooga, TN; 615-265-3700 FAX: 615-265-7924

Andrew Thuku (Greenways Coordinator) Riverfront-Downtown Planning-Design Center

Second Floor - Miller Plaza, 850 Market Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402; 615-266-5948 FAX: 615-266-2757

October 1997

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