In a press conference given in response to the Chattanooga Housing Authority's acceptance of the city's bid to buy the Harriet Tubman housing site, Mayor Andy Berke said, "When I took office almost a year ago, I said I was going to create stronger neighborhoods and grow the economy. Today we took another step forward in that vision."
The city plans to make the site a light industrial zone after the demolition, in order to bring jobs to the area.
Mayor Berke said bringing jobs would "drive this neighborhood forward and make a difference for our city as a whole."
The site is approximately 36 acres of land and is near Amnicola Highway as well as the railroad. He emphasized that this was ideal for economic prospects in the market to build.
He said, "I'm proud to say we've been working tirelessly with people throughout the city to make this happen."
Mayor Berke told the media as soon as the purchase of the site is approved by the City Council, the city will begin to put together a process and a timeline as well as getting bids for the demolition. The estimated cost of the demolition is $2 million. However, he said, "The next stage here is closing."
When asked why he was against putting more public housing in the site, Mayor Berke replied that is was more about what he was for than what he was against. He said, "You think about what's going to benefit this neighborhood, and it's jobs." He also said the housing had a high vacancy rate in the past.