Seeking A Vision For The Tubman Site - And Response

Saturday, October 5, 2013
I recall clearly the efforts put out by then Mayor Littlefield and Betsy McCright of CHA to invite an interested developer out of Atlanta (Purpose Built, an arm of the Warren Buffett fortune) to come to Chattanooga a second time to present their proposed plan to construct first-class housing and pertinent supporting community structures at the Tubman site.  At the last public hearing the occupants of Tubman would have no part of it.  Yes, I suppose misery loves company.  They missed the best opportunity they likely will ever have for superior housing and more with support from the mayor and CHA.

I hope Mayor Berke will reconsider all options for this site.  In my opinion it should be dedicated to industrial and/or commercial development, with essentially a railroad yard in its back door which would be an asset not only to the city but also to the general area.  

Has the city satisfied the $500,000 debt that arose out of the mismanagement of grant money and sale for profit of the Ridgedale community center properties to McCallie School?  Could not an area be committed to a future park at an industrial development at this site to help meet the requirement that the city purchase a site valued at $500,000 to be designated as a park? 

All of us need to broaden our scope to see the full picture of the site and envision the possibilities that could be most advantageous to the taxpayers and to the health of our city.  The aerial view of the site published in the newspaper helped me to change my mind about Tubman.  That still leaves me wondering about those who are, have been, and seemingly forever shall be petitioning the city and its taxpayers to provide free or affordable housing in perpetuity and keep it up for as long as they live there.  I feel their pain, but I feel Ms. McCright's more.  This is a national problem.

Charlotte Parton

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The Chattanooga Housing Authority is a general train wreck of an agency riddled with conflicts of interest. 


Purpose Built was nothing more than an attempt to add a private corporate layer between the poor and government-funded housing subsidies.  Purpose Built of Atlanta would redirect public funding allocated for the poor for housing and give a private corporation control.  Purpose Built’s track record in Atlanta is good cause not to allow this model of public housing in Chattanooga.  It is a license to defer public resources from the poor to a corporation.  Of course,  Mayor Ron Littlefield and Betsy McCright, VP McCright and Associates love the idea.  Their motives are best understood by reading the website of McCright and Associates.


The local Chattanooga Housing Authority has a history of pervasive mismanagement and conflicts of interest, and required federal intervention from HUD.  In reading their website, it appears that the CEO of our local Chattanooga Housing Authority is very busy running a private corporation in the HUD industry.  Perhaps, a focus on the housing needs rather than private business opportunities would benefit the taxpayer and housing needs of the poor.


April Eidson

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