CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — What will the future of Chattanooga's Riverfront look like?
“What we think of it is the evolution of the Riverfront District," said River City Company CEO and President Emily Mack.
The River City Company has been looking at that question for the past 18 months. This week, it revealed plans to intensify and revitalize one of Chattanooga's biggest tourist hotspots.
The ONE Riverfront District Master Plan is designed to address current challenges that include such as aging infrastructure and amenities, single-mode roadway design and an imbalance of tourist and visitor activity relative to local use.
“It's been 15 years since the Riverfront District -- including the amenities, the infrastructure and even some of the buildings -- have really been touched," said Mack.
The company says it's gotten input from "thousands of community voices." From that comes a plan with four aspirations and eight specific strategies, which they list below:
The four aspirations of the ONE Riverfront Plan include:
- Activate the Riverfront
- Create a Place for All Chattanoogans
- Develop a Greater Sense of Place
- Strengthen Connectivity to the Riverfront
The eight strategies:
Humanize the Parks
- Protect the investment in the riverfront parks by allowing the spaces to evolve to meet community needs
- Attract and extend visits to the Chattanooga riverfront by providing comfortable and exciting park spaces
- Elements may include shade, comfortable seating, color, flowers, swings, nature and art
2. Come Together at the River
- Welcome Chattanoogans to the riverfront and create a nucleus of energy that serves the social and cultural needs of the community and spurs locally owned business and entrepreneurship
- Implement regular programming at the Chattanogoa Green and Aquarium Plaza to support local business and build community social life with weekly, evolving events and activities
- Develop a community-based process for curating major riverfront events and creatively staging events around key park spaces and redevelopment sites
3. Build Inclusively
- Use River City Company and City owned parcels to provide equitable development
- Commit to a mix of affordable and market rate housing
- Commit to providing low-cost commercial space to enable local and minority-owned businesses to locate in the Riverfront District
4. Establish the Riverfront Front Door
- Activate the prime downtown riverfront corner with public serving uses including ground floor local and minority-owned businesses and mixed-income residential on upper floors
- Complete the Chattanooga Green with a restaurant or café
- Create a space for eating, drinking and socializing on the river
5. Create a Civic Campus: Activate the Aquarium Plaza 18 hours per day, 7 days per week to appeal to all generations and is robustly welcoming
- Create an extension of the Broad Street public realm into a Civic Campus
- Build on Farmers Market momentum to create temporary market stalls
- Create an access-controlled space for the community and Aquarium events
- Provide an accessible connection and a powerful landscape statement that links the Riverwalk and Ross’s Landing with the Aquarium
- Integrate education, local history and water in a safe and dynamic environment
6. Boldly Connect Downtown
- Reallocate space on Broad Street with 75% available for signature urban street and civic commons and 25% for vehicular operations
- Reimagine Broad Street and 4th Street Gateway Intersection
- Facilitate redevelopment of infill sites on Broad, Market and Chestnut in a proven market with public realm value-drivers
7. Refresh the Riverwalk
- Improve usability and legibility of the Riverwalk using a complete street approach
- Use smart wayfinding graphics and maps to help people feel more connected
8. Get Your Feet Wet
- Create Paddleboard and Kayak Access and Storage
- Explore creation of a Water Taxi service
- Enhance work at Maclellan Island
- Develop concept for floating features to expand upon Tennessee Aquarium water education
- Deploy floating features to allow visitors to venture onto the Tennessee River
“The first phase of implementation will include programming and animation of many areas in the Riverfront. We are excited to continue our partnership with stakeholders in the Riverfront to begin to identify the first steps of the larger projects including redevelopments of vacant spaces. This is a living plan that will lead River City Company’s work for many years to come,” stated Mack.
River City Company is inviting the public for upcoming free events in the Riverfront District including Family Fun on the Green on August 7th, City Sweat on Ross’s Landing on August 12th and the Musical Mystery Tour on August 21st. Go here to learn more.
Check out a recording of the ONE Riverfront presentation here. There, you can fill out a form to provide more input about the plan.
View more details about the plan, including renderings of the plan, below:
Depend on us to keep you posted as we learn more.