Mayor Berke, Councilman Anderson, And Community Kick Off Construction Of New Park On Long-Vacant Site In Middle Of Alton Park

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Alton Park community leaders on Thursday afternoon joined Mayor Andy Berke, Councilman Chris Anderson, and other city and county officials to break ground at the former Charles A. Bell Elementary School site, kicking off construction that will turn a long-vacant site into a vibrant park and gathering place for the neighborhood.


“Parks impact quality of life in a number of ways, from helping make neighborhoods safer and more active to providing a place for kids to play and neighbors to meet and exchange ideas,” said Mayor Berke.

“Our investment in Alton Park will revitalize a long-vacant site, turning it into an attractive amenity that will help strengthen property values for the residents who proudly call Alton Park home.”


The former school closed in 1989. An eyesore and potential safety concern, the county-owned structure was finally demolished in 2011. After the city took over the site in 2014, Alton Park neighborhood leaders along with Councilman Chris Anderson and the City’s Department of Economic & Community Development held a community engagement process to create a new green space. It will enhance the vibrancy of the neighborhood and connect residents with options for recreation and gathering.


“It’s a great project for our neighborhood and really going to be an improvement to the community and good for our community. It’s been a long time coming, and I’m glad to see it’s on the way,” said Alton Park resident and neighborhood leader Rosemary Porter.


City officials shared renderings, which showed plans for a quarter-mile walking path, large open lawn for community activities, benches, and a large pavilion with picnic tables, restrooms, and drinking fountain.


The community has wanted this for years, and it's a project I've been working on since before I was even on the City Council. I'm so thrilled that we are finally able to make such a massive investment in Alton Park, and I will continue to work with area residents and leaders to bring more projects that lift up the community,” said Councilman Anderson, who represents District 7 where Alton Park is located.


At the groundbreaking, Councilman Anderson also gave an update on the naming process for the new park. A public input meeting to gather name ideas from community members is planned for Feb. 23, at 6 p.m. at the Bethlehem Center. It is one of multiple public input sessions with community members who have been engaged in the development and design of the park.


Mayor Berke allocated $1 million in capital funds in Fiscal Year 2015 to transform the site, and in late December of 2016, the City Council approved a contract with P&C Construction, which was on-site today moving earth and digging footers for the new park. After weather delays, construction began in late January 2017 and is expected to be complete this summer. For more information, visit connect.chattanooga.gov/newpark.



Master Gardeners Of Hamilton County Presents 3rd Saturday Public Gardening Classes

The Master Gardeners of Hamilton County, in association with the University of Tennessee Extension, extend their outreach programs with free monthly gardening classes open to the public.  On Saturday, April 21, from 10 a.m.-noon, the topic will be “Okra: A Southern Staple” taught by master gardener Jeff Morris.  MGHC classes take place at the UT Extension, Agricultural ... (click for more)

Input From Community Sought On Greenway Farm Facility

The City of Chattanooga Department of Public Works is holding a community meeting on Thursday, April 12 from 5-7 p.m. regarding upgrades to the rental facility at Greenway Farm, 5051 Gann Store Road in Hixson, at the Conference Center (brown house). Hefferlin & Kroenenberg Architects will collect input from attendees on preferred amenities and improvements.   ... (click for more)

Federal Jury Finds Gillispie Guilty Of 6 Counts In Sex Trafficking Case

A federal jury on Wednesday morning found Corrie Gillispie guilty of six counts in his sex trafficking trial. Gillispie was ruled guilty of two counts of sex trafficking, two counts of kidnapping, one count of transporting a person across state lines for prostitution, and one count of money laundering.  The panel found him not guilty of another charge of transporting ... (click for more)

Attorney Says There Was No Valid Reason To Euthanize Monteagle Family's Pet Raccoon Boomer

A Chattanooga attorney who specializes in wildlife cases says there was no valid reason for health officials to have euthanized a pet raccoon belonging to a family in Monteagle. Candace Bone said the family had owned "Boomer" for three years after getting her from an approved raccoon farm. She said, "We are all devastated. He was just like a baby to us. Boomer slept between ... (click for more)

A Tribute For My Brother – Sgt. Jonathan Gardner, U.S. Army

Seven years ago today, my family and I found out that my brother, Sgt. Jonathan D. Gardner, was seriously injured by a roadside bomb, (explosively formed penetrator - EFP), while on a mission in Kuwait. The EFP went through the bottom of his seat and put a softball size hole in his upper thigh. The doctors said that if the bomb had entered the Humvee an inch to the right, he ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Teacher's Pay Cut

The Hamilton County School Board will hold a “working session” Thursday afternoon as steps continue to formulate the FY2019 budget and it is a frightening process in a badly-broken system. Everybody knows it is equally embarrassing and after watching teachers who “have had enough” go on strikes in Oklahoma, West Virginia and Kentucky this spring, I guarantee you that Tennessee is ... (click for more)