As a relative newcomer to Chattanooga District 4 from the Washington, DC bureaucracy and an ordinary senior citizen with a zest for life and need to be involved in my community, I have concerns about what will happen to Chattanooga's Heritage Park and Heritage House when "all the dust settles" from the current election.
After 31 years with the federal government, I have seen many well-intentioned new plans ("new brooms sweep clean") happen without the wisdom of previous experience, and ordinary peoples' lives negatively impacted. As a strong believer without a need to judge others, I believe that peace and joy is available to this stressed-out world through love and acceptance of our neighbors getting to know each other, playing together, and sharing a common bond. It is obvious to this ordinary citizen that much serious focus needs to be done to improve crime control, rebuilding, education, and planning for the future, and I celebrate the goals of the new mayor. I am wondering what will happen in the "big picture" to beautiful places like Heritage Park and its Dog Park, Heritage House and its wonderful community events, Tivoli Theater, and all the wonderful Arts and Culture opportunites which have and should continue helping provide well-rounded living and fun for all people in this area. There is much to be done at Heritage Park and Heritage House -- more activities, an ampitheater, picnic facilities, involvement by businesses and many new volunteers in the Friends of East Brainerd, and so much more.
Our free HubFest Event with the theme "God and Country, Diversity, and Mothers" and our free Bark in the Park event which provides a state-of-the-art dog park at very nominal fees each which each attracted over 4,000 attendees. We all (baby boomers and seniors, students, children, and other ordinary people) need places to go and grow and just plain relax while supporting our community and getting to know our neighbors. I would like to know how District 4's candidates for reelection (Jack Benson) and election (Larry Grohn) stand on supporting places like Heritage Park, Heritage House, furtherance of Arts and Culture, and other healthy family alternatives for the people.
Chairman and "HubMama" - HubFest 2012 - Heritage Park and Heritage House
Friends of East Brainerd 2012 Secretary
Committee Member - Bark in the Park - Heritage Park
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A letter recently published asked the two candidates for City Council in District 4 to go on record as to where they stand in supporting Heritage Park.
Heritage Park is one of the best passive parks in the southeast. I take great pride and satisfaction in my role in helping to create the park in 2002 and in seeing the continued improvements throughout the park.
For the record, if re-elected, I will be a strong advocate for the continued development and sustainability of Heritage Park. Since 2002, the city, with help from the Friends of East Brainerd, has been able to expand opportunities for all ages, its citizens, as well as the addition of a dog park for animals. The possibilities for expansion of the park are before us and I look forward to their attainment.
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Unfortunately, your article implies I would not continue supporting the development of Heritage Park. Nothing could be further from the truth. Heritage Park is a true treasure for the 4th district. After 10 long years the park is really still in the infancy of its development.
While Mr. Benson indeed deserves his share of credit for support, the greatest thanks goes to the Friends of East Brainerd, the hundreds of volunteers who help make the Heritage Park events successful and those who work to complete the group vision for the park. It is time for the entire community of East Brainerd to step up and support the park’s continued development with their time, energy and donations to make all the possibilities you mentioned in your article come to fruition.
I am certainly personally aware of the support all the citizens of East Brainerd give to the park through their tax dollars. I fully support the idea of picnic facilities and other improvements. But, much work still needs to be done. One only has to look at the holdup over the replacement of a failed column and roof repairs on Heritage House itself. Our community cannot expect Heritage Park to become what many would like it to be if we depend solely on the city government to ‘go-it-alone’ with future development. Unfortunately, essential services and crime prevention and suppression have been ill-funded over the past eight years and discretionary funds may become scarce for the foreseeable future.
I would like to see a greater cooperative effort between the city’s parks and recreation department and a ‘Friends of Heritage Park’ volunteer organization established. This volunteer group could help with any proposed improvements and the park’s increasing maintenance and upkeep. Another example of community involvement is the greenway project for which Roger Meyer (a charter member of the FOEB) has dedicated years of time and effort. Imagine a biking and walking path from Shallowford Road which would connect the YMCA, Heritage Park, Audubon Acres, and Camp Jordan and then tie into the existing pathway along Chickamauga Creek to the Tennessee River and on to the downtown. That dream, with community and business support, could become a reality.
I have other ideas for improvements in the 4th district which can be discussed at another time.
Meanwhile . . . Why wait for the city government to act? Let’s do what Chattanoogans have always done – and that is get it done.