Hamilton County and the city of Chattanooga are proposing a public-private partnership to extend MLK Boulevard across Riverfront Parkway to the Tennessee Riverwalk trailhead at Blue Goose Hollow.
The proposed public-private partnership is between the city, county and Nashville developer Evergreen Real Estate - the developer of Cameron Harbor - which is offering to build the new section of MLK Boulevard on parcels of land they own.
“In addition to the jobs provided by the construction of this new road, I’m excited that this will provide residents with a new connection to the Riverwalk, a wonderful asset for our county and our region,” said County Mayor Jim Coppinger.
Proposed improvements include extending, straightening, and widening MLK Boulevard across Riverfront Parkway to the trailhead as well as sidewalks, lighting, and parking. The proposed street extension would happen in conjunction with Cameron Harbor’s 3rd phase.
Evergreen would construct the street using $4 million of tax increment financing (TIF). The TIF means future tax revenue from the Cameron Harbor development would fund the MLK Boulevard construction. The street would then be deeded over to the city.
“This is a great example of what can happen when government comes together with the private sector. Through this public-private partnership, we are providing needed infrastructure and access to the Riverwalk for everyone in Chattanooga while creating good jobs for our area,” said Mayor Andy Berke.
He said, "Through use of the TIF, city and county residents gain access to a new street and right of way that will increase access to the Riverwalk, improve infrastructure, and increase visibility for commercial development."
“We’re excited about partnering with the city and county to provide this amenity to our residents and the citizens of Chattanooga who will benefit from this new street. This infrastructure will complement our vibrant residential community,” said Aaron White, principal and co-founder of Evergreen.
The proposed infrastructure is the first TIF project under new policies implemented in 2015. It requires multiple approval layers including an application review committee, an economic impact analysis, a public hearing, approval by the City’s Industrial Development Board (IDB), approval by City Council, and approval by the County Commission.
It would be the first local TIF since a controversial project funding a road and sewer to the top of Aetna Mountain in Lookout Valley.