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River City Company's focus has seen several changes over its 31 year history

We sit down with Kim White, President and CEO of River City Company, to discuss the focus of the organization.

Downtown Chattanooga has seen a transformation over the last 30 years, and River City Company has been right in the middle of that growth the whole time.

River City Company was created in 1986.

"The community came together and did a plan of what Chattanooga needed to do to really rethink its future," Kim White, President and CEO of River City Company said. "It said in that plan that there needed to be an organization that got up everyday making sure that plan became a reality."

River City Company completed that mission and kept going. Kim White says at one time River City owned about thirty-four acres of property on Chattanooga's Riverfront.

"Land that the Aquarium is on, that the Lookouts are on, and that the Creative Discovery Musuem is on River City had control of that," Kim White said. "I think one part of the story that doesn't get told enough is that we also had control over the quality of what was built. So, if you wanted to build on a River City piece of property we had very specific requirements of what it had to look like."

River City Company plays a unique role in Chattanooga, and most cities don't have an organization like this. The organization is a 501 (c) (3). It's a private non-profit. They have a 21 member board with elected officials and other local leaders. River City doesn't receive any funds from city or county government, and operations are funded through the property they still own. But local foundations and other sources help fund other projects.

"I think it's sometimes hard for people to get their head around who we are as an organization because that's changed over the thirty-one years," White said. "Early on we were a developer because we couldn't get people to believe people actually wanted to live and be a part of a downtown and most recently it has been one of a more of a convener."

Kim grew up in this area, and graduated from UTC. She took over as President and CEO of River City Company in 2009.

"So when I came here and we first started looking at where the gaps were there weren't very many people living downtown, and that's the piece we've been focusing on," White said.

And over the last four years the city has seen the results of that work. During that time more than 3,000 apartment units are in some phase of being built as well as many more condos and town homes.

And when this phase of growth slows down Kim White says there is more work to be done.

"When people come in and say is your work finished? I want to point out to all the surface parking lots that are downtown, and all the empty spaces that are downtown because downtowns are always growing and changing," Kim White said.

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