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Practice Details

 
Title of Practice: Chattanooga, The Sustainable City
Year: 1996
BPTag: Award Winner
Reference Number: USA016
City / Town / Village:
Region: North America
Country: U.S.A
Has this practice been submitted previously? No
Previous Title:
Address:
Office of the Mayor
Suite 100, City Hall
Chattanooga
Tennessee
USA
37402
Tel: 1 423 757-5152
Name of Contact Person:
Email of Contact Person:
Summary: The power of Chattanooga's example of sustainability is not in the creativity or commitment of any one project,activity or sector, it is in the comprehensiveness of the approach and in the shared, local vision for a better future. Therefore, a mere listing of best practices does not do justice to the Chattanooga model.  The City, in effect, is a best practice on its own.

Chattanooga's best practice is a cultural and economic whole, a vision and application of sustainability that includes, for example,  rebuilt urban neighborhoods, affordable housing, electric vehicle transit and research, eco-industrial parks, clean water and clean air initiatives, regional resource conservation and riverfront development.  The whole, however, is greater than the sum of these many parts because it represents fundamental changes in civic culture.  This renewed civic culture is characterized by broad public participation in decision making, willingness to address difficult issues with bold and creative action,a commitment to a better life for all citizens, respect for the natural environment, and a promise to preserve opportunities for future generations.  This civic culture is the key to Chattanooga's successes as described below.





Key Dates: Started: 1984 Stopped: ongoing Completed: ongoing
Norminating Organization Details
Name of Organization: City of Chattanooga
Contact Person:
Type of Organization:

Partners:
Name of OrganizationAddressContact PersonOrganisation TypeType of Support
Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce1001 Market Street
Chattanooga
Tennessee
USA
37402
Tel:1 423 756-2121
Vaughan, Jim, not providedPara-statal 
Chattanooga Hamilton Regional Planning Commission200 City Hall Annex
Chattanooga
Tennessee
USA
37402
Tel: 1 423 757-5216
Coulter, Ann, not providedCentral Government 
City HallCity Hall
Chattanooga
Tennessee
USA
37402
Tel: 1 423 757-5141
Crockett, Dave, not providedLocal Authority 

Category
Economic Development
Environmental Management
Technology, Tools and Methods

Narrative:

In the last15 years, Chattanooga has become a city where ordinary citizens make extraordinary things happen.  These things happen neither easily nor due to mere luck, but from a willingness to listen to each other, to set high goals and work hard to reach them, and from a concern about the nature of the community do we leave to our children.
Because of what ordinary Chattanoogans have done, we have gone from having the nation's most polluted air to one of the handful of cities meeting all national clean air attainment standards.  Because of what ordinary citizens have done, a City, with no affordable housing strategy and rapidly decaying urban neighborhoods, has become a model for the nation 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 increasingly comprehensive, coordinated and strategic in their design, and in seeking truly sustainable community development.  These efforts are now recognized not only nationally, but around the world.
Like other American cities, Chattanooga has had to face the challenges of a post World War II economy.  Suburban development drained the downtown of much of its retail and all of its residential development.  The economic base collapsed as traditional manufacturing jobs moved overseas; and many local companies closed down, laid off workers, and sold to outside interest.  Racial conflict, poor schools and eroding infrastructure 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 by government, business, community organizations, and citizens have resulted not only in clean air, but also in a comprehensive, strategic process for achieving a sustainable community.
Advocates for the environment and proponents of economic development, once at odds 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 best turn-around story.  The collaboration between manufacturers, government agencies, and citizens that enabled Chattanooga to clean up the air established a precedent that is now a part of the civic culture.  Public-private partnerships are just the way we do business now.
Numerous collaborative efforts have generated the capital resources, the political commitment, and the civic momentum to tackle complex issues such as affordable housing, public education, transportation alternatives, conservation of 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 our ability to revitalize.  In 1984, Vision2000 offered all citizens the opportunity to envision what they wanted the community to be by the year 2000.  Forty goals emerged from the process that helped focus public and private investment in downtown and neighborhood revitalization, development of affordable housing,and social and educational programs. These investments have stimulated the local economy, expanded the job base, and helped create a "can-do" civic attitude.
In 1991, years of community efforts became the foundation for an integrated strategic plan, called "Target 96." The plan was made up of 94 recommendations,with the aim of establishing the Chattanooga region as a living laboratory for environmental, economic, and educational initiatives toward sustainability.  This plan was reinforced by the results of Revision 2000 which, in 1993, invited residents back together to set forth a broad range of goals embracing social, economic, and educational concerns.  In 1994, an aggressive,economic development strategy incorporated the environment as one of the centralizing themes. The stage has thus been set for a positive step into the next century, with the projects briefly described below, representing components of Chattanooga's sustainable community strategy.
PROJECT LISTING
A.  CLEAN AIR:   Chattanooga attained clean air status through the collaborative efforts of government, industry, and citizens and was recognized as one of the best turn-around stories in the nation.
B.  PUBLIC PARTICIPATION AND COMMUNITY VISION:  Public participation in planning and the community-wide visioning process was essential in empowering the community.
C.  RIVERFRONT AND GREEN WAY DEVELOPMENT:  Developing the riverfront was the first step in building awareness and generating the basis for an economic development strategy based on the environment.  A county-wide network of linear parks along streams and natural areas has emerged from partnerships of grass roots organizations, public agencies, and local businesses.
D.  AFFORDABLE HOUSING:  A local effort to alleviate substandard housing has become a national model for housing rehabilitation, community-based financing, and neighborhood revitalization.
E.  EDUCATION REFORM AND ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION:    Community and parental involvement has resulted in structural and curriculum reform in the schools,and "non-formal" educational programs have helped create a more informed public.
F.  RECYCLING AND JOB TRAINING:  The City's recycling program has a unique partnership with a rehabilitation center which specializes in job training for people with mental disabilities.
G.  ELECTRIC BUS TECHNOLOGY AND RESEARCH:  Chattanooga has become a testing and manufacturing center for zero emission, electric-powered vehicles.
H.  NATURAL RESOURCES:  Reforesting the urban areas and protection of the natural forests have been key components of our natural resources preservation efforts.
I.  SUPERFUND CLEAN-UP:   Chattanooga's most challenging initiative is the clean-up of Chattanooga Creek, a national Superfund site that traverse slow-income, inner-city neighborhoods.
J.  INVESTING IN HUMAN POTENTIAL:  Community-wide and neighborhood initiatives are helping to reinvest in human potential. 
K.  ECO-INDUSTRIAL PARKS:  Rehabilitating abandoned industrial sites has opened the door to an economic development strategy that incorporates the principles of sustainable development.
PROJECT SUMMARIES
A. CLEAN AIR
In 1969, Chattanooga was designated the "worst polluted city" in the country.  Its industrially-produced pollution was compounded by the area's topography of ridges and valleys that hindered pollution dispersion. Chattanooga led the nation in particulate levels and was second only to Los Angeles in ozone levels.
Deteriorating visibility and rising claims of pollution-related illnesses motivated citizens, government, and industry to form a coalition to remedy the situation.  The result was the creation of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Board.  The Board placed restrictions on almost all air pollution causing activities, limited visible emissions from local industries, and set an attainment date of October, 1994.  By the deadline, every major pollution source in the county was in compliance at a cost of over $40 million dollars, borne mostly 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 the stage for the city's ability to lead future urban environmental initiatives.
This success was a critical step toward integrating environmental protection with economic development.  The Board,governed by a volunteer body of local citizens and industry representatives,continues to develop and support initiatives that prevent or minimize pollution, 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, more than 1,700 people participated in a series of community visioning meetings called Vision 2000, which resulted in a "Commitment Portfolio" of 40goals for the year 2000.  The goals of Vision 2000 brought many initiatives to the public agenda and paved the way for community collaboration to address the goals. An organization created specifically in recognition of the need for citizen involvement in Chattanooga's future, Chattanooga Venture, served as a support structure for the citizen task forces and public-private partnerships that emerged in response to the community's expressed vision.
More than 85 percent of the Vision 2000 goals have been fully or partially accomplished, resulting in $800 million in new investments in the community.  Accomplishments -- all public-private initiatives -- include the Tennessee Riverpark, Tennessee Aquarium, Bessie Smith Hall, Creative Discovery Museum, Spouse Abuse Shelter,and the Human Relations Commission, in addition to the restoration of theTivoli Theatre, Memorial Auditorium,  and the Walnut Street Bridge.
Nine years after that first call to the community, Re Vision 2000 invited the community back together.  The process resulted in 27 new goals, again reflecting the diversity of the community's economic and social needs.  A Vision Committee, representing civic, neighborhood, political, and business life, was formed in the fall of 1994 to ensure citizen involvement, as the community moves to address the Re Vision 2000 goals in an evolving process essential to Chattanooga's social, economic, and environmental transformation.
The public visioning process was essential to overcoming the feeling of powerlessness among many low and middle income citizens and in creating a shared vision that integrated social and economic concerns.
C.  RIVERFRONT AND GREENWAY DEVELOPMENT
The Tennessee River was the origin of the settlement that became Chattanooga.  As the town and city grew,we neglected the river, polluted its tributaries, and forgot our primal connection with it.  In recent years, we have turned our attention and our future toward the river once more, as a focal point for public life, for appreciation of nature, for economic development,and education.  The greatest physical symbol of the City's revitalization and its focus on sustainable development is the Tennessee Aquarium and its adjacent Riverwalk.
The Tennessee Riverpark Master Plan called for mixed-use development, with a park and trail system to parallel the river for 20 miles, highlighting the natural and historic features along the river. Since the first phase opened in 1986, the Tennessee Riverpark has exceeded all expectation as a community gathering place and economic catalyst.  By 1995, with seven miles of riverwalk 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 become the community's front porch.  The Plaza,built on the former site of abandoned buildings, now surrounds the Tennessee Aquarium.  With a design based on the history and ecology of the area, this place teaches visitors about the community and its environment, transforms the urban landscape, and links the downtown to the Riverpark.
Opened in 1992, the Tennessee Aquarium was built with $45 million dollars in local, private funds.  It generated $133million in economic activity in its first year alone and has attracted over four million visitors since its opening. Highlighting the region's freshwater creatures and river system, the Aquarium is not only the cornerstone of Chattanooga's riverfront and economic development, but also an education center, communicating the interconnectedness and interdependency between the built environment and the natural systems of a richly diverse bio region.
Chattanoogans have identified the river and streams, forested mountains, and lush valleys as some of the community's most valuable resources.  The Tennessee River Gorge Trust was created by a group of Chattanooga citizens in 1986 in partnership with the Tennessee River Gorge, the largest river gorge east of the Mississippi River and home to more than 1,000 species of plants and animals. Today, the Trust has protected more than half the targeted area and continues to contribute to Chattanooga's tradition of turning grass roots energy and vision into a catalyst for a large and ambitious project.
The goals of the Chattanooga Greenways Program are to develop a county-wide network of linear parks linked to the Riverpark; to protect critical natural areas along creek corridors; to provide recreational opportunities for all citizens; and to offer an alternative transportation mode.  One of the highlights of the greenway system is the 180 acre Greenway Farm.  Formerly a working farm, the Farm is now the site of an environmental education program for 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 the U.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 social trends had contributed to severe shortages of safe, affordable housing in Chattanooga.  Not only were low and moderate (often elderly) home owners unable to afford  or finance critical home repairs, increasing numbers of families could not afford to buy a home; and many could not afford or locate decent rental housing. Realizing that home ownership was a key to neighborhood prosperity and stability and that residential areas are essential to a healthy downtown, civic leaders created an ambitious partnership in 1987 to alleviate substandard housing 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-city residential areas and create new home ownership opportunities for low-to-moderate income families.  Using funding from all levels of government and private contributions as leverage,CNE is able to access the large amounts of capital needed for this scale of housing rehabilitation and neighborhood revitalization from conventional lenders.  CNE's flexible lending program sallow even very low income families to realize better housing.  Approximately 49% of the over 60,000households in the area meet CNE's  income guidelines.
Over 3,460 family housing units have been produced, rehabilitated, or financed by CNE since 1987, representing an investment of $91 million.  CNE also owns and/or manages almost 300 units of affordable, rental housing and provides emergency repairs and home improvement loans for existing home owners who meet income criteria.  A variety of funding alternatives, including a combination of local and national conventional capital, enables Chattanoogans to 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 home buyer education program.  Loan repayments and proceeds from the sale of loans on the secondary market provide a sustainable pool for helping more families in the future. CNE also involves residents in the process of planning for neighborhood improvements and supports them in projects that enhance the neighborhood's appearance and safety. The educational and participatory nature of the program ensure a greater probability that the improvement in the neighborhood will be sustained by the residents and the neighborhood associations.
Administrated by a volunteer board of local public and private citizens, CNE receives federal, state, and local public funds, financing from private lending institutions, and private funds from a local charitable foundation.  CNE was recently one of two cities in the state to be awarded $2 million dollars for its downtown housing strategy.  In 1994, it received a prestigious Urban Land Institute 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 sustainable future.  A community-wide commitment has spurred several public-private initiatives that have resulted in more resources being available for schools and the development of new organizational practices, curricular, and methods of instruction and training.
In a recent public referendum, citizens of Chattanooga voted to merge the now separate city and county schools.  A36-member planning committee, comprised of parents, educators, students, and civic and business leaders, was established to set forth a bold, new vision for local public education.  As the committee brought this vision into focus, business and higher education leaders forged a compact to offer graduates priority for employment and advanced education.
The "Together We Can" Scholarship and Support Program is a partnership between the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga and City Government, which pays the college tuition for students.  Any student in the City school system who graduates 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 endowment in schools.  That public investment trust caused private investors to invite the city to join them as they created fecundation to attract major, private gifts in support of the public schools.  The Foundation emphasizes professional development, supports teachers in having a voice in the priorities and practices of the schools, assists principals in developing a more collegial atmosphere, and helps faculties better understand the challenges of diversity.
Partners for Academic Excellence (PACE) promotes parental and community involvement in the schools and formed a partnership ten years ago with the City and County schools to develop a parent involvement program.  Funding is through local, private donors, the City 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 in January of 1995 with $2.2 million in funding from private donors, the City and County governments, and support from the University system.  The Center provides advanced educational training 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 have been essential to building broad-based, public involvement in and support for local sustainable initiatives.  Years of environmental education program offerings have raised awareness about the connections between the preservation of natural resources and the health of the community, including job creation, healthy lifestyles, and educational opportunities.  Many of the sustainable development initiatives in Chattanooga are possible today because of a greater appreciation for these connections by the general population, and because of partnerships that have emerged among divergent interests working together for common goals.
The Environmental Forums in 1991 and 1992 brought together governmental agencies, 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 became synonymous with community improvement; and many initiatives rose to the top of the community's agenda.
The Chattanooga Environmental Education Alliance, formed in 1991, is one of the most action-oriented associations in the community.  Thirty five groups are members and represent environmental education centers, environmental organizations, and government agencies who are involved in environmental education programming for the public, schools, and teachers.  Alliance members jointly sponsor Earth Day activities and work together on community initiatives such as the President's Council on Sustainable Development meeting held 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 mental disabilities.  It provides a comprehensive range of services, including therapy, education, day care, summer programs for children, supportive housing, job training and placement, and family counseling.
A unique partnership between the City of Chattanooga and Orange Grove allows Chattanooga to recover materials from the community waste stream and return them to the manufacturing stream.  This process helps to develop a "waste-based economy" and reduces the dependence on non-renewable resources. In the process, recovery of recyclable wastes become a viable job for people who have a hard time finding appropriate employment; and the resulting product is sold to manufacturers for reuse.
The Orange Grove Recycling Center provides jobs and training for approximately110 mentally challenged adults.  The facility receives recyclables from 55,000 Chattanooga homes, plus the collections from municipal, community, and corporate drop-off centers.  It processes over 1,000,000 pounds per month and diverts this amount from local landfills.
The sorting method is labor-intensive and, therefore, produces a higher quality of sorted material than mechanized methods. Not a single bale of material has ever been rejected by an end user due to mis sorting.  The recycled product coming from Orange Grove is purchased by local businesses and made into products that are used regionally.  As a result, a "cradle to cradle" manufacturing system has been created from the municipal waste.
The operating cost of Orange Grove is roughly one-tenth the amount currently spent by other mid-sized cities.  The structure and technique of the Orange Grove Recycling Center is one that can be modified 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 leader in electric vehicle technology.  A local effort to find a transportation system to link downtown and boost a struggling retail economy led to this initiative. Not only is a new fleet of non-polluting, electric buses gradually replacing the old diesel buses in Chattanooga, but the electric vehicles are actually being manufactured in Chattanooga by a private company, Advanced Vehicle 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 the nation.  The buses run on a circular downtown route and help to reduce downtown traffic congestion and parking problems.  With a $16 million federal grant and matching local dollars, the City's Chattanooga Area Regional Transit Authority (CARTA) is building three parking garages on the shuttle route to get more people out of their cars and onto the non-polluting buses.  Income from the garages will ultimately cover the cost of providing the shuttle.
There are two other components in Chattanooga's electric vehicle story:  Electrotek, an electric vehicle test facility previously owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority and privatized in 1988, and the Electric Vehicle Transit Institute, formed in Chattanooga to promote the use and development of electric transit vehicles throughout the nation.  Chattanooga's electric vehicle program has led to the city's involvement in more than a dozen technology development projects, 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 of electric vehicles.  Purchase prices for buses 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 providing Chattanooga and other cities with a clean alternative for transportation, but is also bringing new jobs and revenues to the community.
H.  NATURAL RESOURCES
The Southern Appalachian Mountain supports one of only two deciduous temperate rainforests in the world.  The Sequatchie Valley is one of the world's largest rift valleys, and the Tennessee River is the fifth largest river in the U.S. These abundant, natural resources provide the region with a dramatic landscape valued for scenic beauty, as well as for a rich biodiversity of both plant and animal species.
A strategy that links preservation of natural resources to business development-and job creation has led to successful riverfront development initiatives, the expansion of the greenways system, and additions to the urban park program.
Re-establishing trees and plants to the urban setting has been incorporated into planning and design efforts.  The program is a private-public partnership between Chattanooga's Urban Forestry Department and Krystal Farms, a private corporation.  Trees and shrubs are grown and harvested at the farm property and planted in the downtown area by the urban forester.  The trees are given to volunteer beautification programs, neighborhood initiatives, and public parks.
Abundant forest and water resources enhance tourism and provide a manufacturing and industrial base for the region's economy. Challenges for local communities in the region include how to manage the use of these resources for emerging environmental businesses, while maintaining the current and future job base associated with manufacturing and forestry.  Large tracts of land in the watershed are privately or federally owned which complicates the decision-making ability of local communities.
I.  SUPERFUND CLEAN-UP
In South Chattanooga, the Superfund Clean-Up of Chattanooga Creek offers the greatest challenge and the greatest opportunity to implement the principles of sustainable development.  Chattanooga Creek, declared a Superfund site in 1994, is one of the most polluted creeks in Tennessee.  Three public housing developments, six schools, and three recreation centers are located in the vicinity.
Industry and business, along with government agencies, are involved in strategic planning with South Chattanooga neighborhoods through community advisory panels, community safety panels, park projects, greenway development, and academic sponsorships.  Recently,vocational training and job creation for area residents were integrated into remediation action carried out by a large corporation.
In spite of local progress, barriers still remain at the federal level in terms of decisions on technology applications, regulatory relief, and time-frame minimization.  Other barriers include imperfect environmental laws that impose unending liability upon those who otherwise would redevelop degraded sites.
Under current federal Superfund laws, a new owner can become liable for contamination already in place and face open-ended clean-up costs should standards change at any time in the future. The implications of these laws extend to the community by promoting development of virgin suburban land at a high cost to the local tax base and discouraging the reuse of abandoned industrial sites in the inner-city.
Partnerships and creativity need to occur among federal agencies and contractors that enhance rather than inhibit local initiatives for sustainable development.  Environmental regulations and policies can serve as incentives for sustainable development in much the same way as economic incentives serve to promote business, job creation, and community revitalization.
J.  INVESTING IN HUMAN POTENTIAL
Invest in Children, a United Way of Greater Chattanooga initiative started three years ago, has as its purpose the goal of enabling each child to have a safe, healthy, and wholesome start in life. If a child and its family get the support they need early in life, they will do better all along the way; and the need for remedial services will be greatly reduced.  By playing the role of facilitator, Invest in Children increases the community's awareness of opportunities to support children and families, and brings leaders, service providers, and grass roots representatives to the table to forge consensus and develop resources.  In a recent public forum, 500 men, women, and children from all walks of life answered the-question, "What should we do to make Chattanooga the best place to be born and to grow up?"  Invest in Children is now developing strategies to implement their suggestions.
The Westside Development initiative is a compelling example of building community from the inside out.  In a neighborhood which has a population of 2,800; 1,400 of whom are elderly; 760 of whom are children; and 640 of whom are non-elderly adults; a collaboration of residents and community partners, including foundations, the Junior League of Chattanooga, and City government, have set goals and developed resources to redefine the Westside.  An abandoned school and a deteriorating commercial strip are the cornerstones for development opportunities.  But the renaissance is more spiritual than project specific.  The residents of the Westside want to recreate their lives and take hold of their futures.  They will do it through ready access to health care in an on-site medical home, available family counseling support,job opportunities and training, and recreational alternatives to bad behavior.  Safety is a key issue.  Personal responsibility is a major theme.  The residents of the Westside a returning their lives around, and they have the help of the entire community as they do it.
K.  ECO-INDUSTRIAL PARKS
The Chattanooga metropolitan area is in the middle of an aggressive economic development 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 by dilapidated structures, vacant buildings, and surface parking lots.  Reclaiming this valuable land near the heart of the city and turning it into economically productive and environmentally sound activities for businesses, residents, and tourists has inspired the most ambitious and creative plan that the city has ever undertaken.
Because the area is central to the future livability of the city, it was considered 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
     expansion.
   - A Sports stadium integrated into thefabric of the city with multi-use parking and landscaping.
       - Housing, greenways, commercial developmentand electric transit interfacing
    with downtown.
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.
CHRONOLOGY
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.
SUSTAINABILITY:
See Project Narrative
IMPACT:
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 natural system.
Citizens form a trust organization to protect 25,000 acres in the Tennessee River Gorge.
Over 3,460 housing units were built, rehabilitated, or financed representing an investment 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 and technology 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 for Sustainable Development.


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