The Garden Club of America recognized the City of Chattanooga’s 21st Century Waterfront Plan at its annual meeting held in Savannah, Ga., on April 18. Each year GCA recognizes individuals and projects that have made a significant impact in the areas of horticulture, conservation and civic improvement. The 21st Century Waterfront project received the Elvira Broome Doolan Medal for innovative work in landscape architecture with an emphasis on city planning and civic improvement in urban areas.
The 21st Century Waterfront is only one of three recipients to have ever received the Elvira Broome Doolan Medal from Garden Club of America including Lynden Breed Miller, one of New York City‘s foremost public garden designers. Miller helped transform the Conservatory Garden in Central Park and created gardens at the NY Botanical Garden, Bryant Park, Central Park Zoo, among others.
Recognized for its story of municipal government and its citizens coming together to take their city to another level, the 21st Century Waterfront Plan brought together over 300 citizens in public meetings to brainstorm and share ideas to formulate a plan for the next phase of riverfront development. The result was a many faceted project that helped complete the overarching vision of connecting the river to the heart of the city, a vision set by Chattanoogans over 25 years ago with the creation of the 1984 Tennessee Riverpark Masterplan.
The project included expansion of three major downtown attractions, the Tennessee Aquarium, the Hunter Museum of Art, the Creative Discovery Museum. Public parks and walkways along the Tennessee River were expanded and improved, with 39 new acres added. Expanded mooring space for leisure and commercial boat traffic and revitalization of a 23 acre wetland were achieved. Over 1,100 trees were planted along the waterfront. Additionally, significant pieces of public art were installed including the Holmberg Pedestrian Bridge. It was constructed over Riverfront Parkway and connected the once isolated Hunter Museum to the heart of the city.
“Chattanooga’s life-long dedication and hard work have made a vast difference to The Garden Club of America. The Awards Committee believes the 21st Century Waterfront project truly exemplifies innovative work in landscape architecture with an emphasis on city planning and civic improvement in urban areas,” said Mrs. Robert Gongaware, national chairman of the Awards Committee for GCA.
The Garden Club of America, based in New York City, is a nonprofit national organization comprised of more than 17,000 members of GCA clubs who dedicate energy and expertise to projects in their communities and the nation. Founded in 1913, The Garden Club of America has become a recognized leader in the fields of horticulture, conservation and civic improvement. There are 195 member clubs in 40 states and Washington, as well as in eight foreign Courtesy Clubs.