Innovation District Organizations Collaborate To Address Food Access By Opening Market In Patten Towers

Monday, December 11, 2017

Causeway, The Enterprise Center, the YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga, and PK Management have partnered together to open a small market on the ground floor of Patten Towers. The goal of the store is to provide healthy, affordable, and accessible food to the residents of Patten Towers, as well as those who live or work in the Innovation District.  The ribbon cutting ceremony is set for Thursday at 2 p.m. at Bingo’s Market located at the Patten Towers.   

The store, called Bingo’s Market, opened in October of this year as a six-month pilot project. The market will sell fresh produce, grocery staples, household items, $1 coffee from Mad Priest Coffee Roasters, and grab-and-go breakfast and lunch options from Vibrant Meals, all at the most affordable prices possible. 

In 2015, a section of downtown Chattanooga was declared the Innovation District, with The Edney Building chosen as the anchor of the district. Right across the street from the Edney Building sits Patten Towers, an independently owned, government subsidized apartment building. In order to live in Patten Towers, residents must be 62 years old and older, or have a disability, either mental or physical, and be below a certain income level. In a survey done in 2015, many residents reported an income of less than $500 a month.  

“Innovation is all about solving problems,” said Abby Garrison, Causeway’s executive director. 
“There was an obvious opportunity in front of us to harness the emerging spirit of innovation, and use it to address a big problem facing some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”  

In Summer 2015, Causeway and The Company Lab received a grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation to support their work connecting Patten Towers and the Innovation District. Through the summer and fall, employees of those organizations and The Enterprise Center started building relationships with the residents of Patten Towers. They played Bingo with the residents every other week, hosted a weekly business class, sponsored a health fair with over 50 vendors, and facilitated several focus groups to better understand the residents’ needs.  

In one survey, 51 percent of the residents said that access to food was the biggest issue they were facing. For the last six years, the owners of Patten Tower and the YMCA’s Mobile Market have been addressing this issue.  However, the Mobile Market was only able to be on-site at Patten Towers once a week for a few hours. Bill Rush, director at the YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga, says the YMCA has been piloting healthy corner stores in three other low income neighborhoods to provide more consistent access to healthy food. Bingo’s Market will follow a similar model, but with more extensive healthy and affordable options. 

The store is on the ground floor of Patten Towers in a room that has an external entrance facing Georgia Avenue, across from the Pickle Barrel. The building’s management company, PK Management, is allowing the group to use the space rent-free.  

“We are thrilled to be entering into a partnership that is addressing the needs of our residents, ensuring that they are treated as valued members of the Chattanooga community,” said Joyce Walker, vice president of Community Development for PK Management. “We are committed to helping this store and our residents thrive.”  

The store is open for a six-month pilot period. In that time, the organizers are hoping to make it financially sustainable so that it can be passed off to a local entrepreneur to run as a viable business.  

“We really hope that people who work in the Innovation District will see this as an opportunity to play an active and positive role in this neighborhood, whether they work at a startup in The Edney Building, or at larger companies like TVA, EPB or Unum,” said Ann Coulter, Enterprise Center. “This is a way for us all to invest in the place that we live.”




Local Trainer Wins National Mustang Competition

Cavin Graham, a local horse trainer from Rocky Face, won the Mustang Magic 2018 Competition Saturday night in Ft. Worth, Texas.   This was an invitation only event that was part of the annual Ft. Worth Stock Show.  Competitors participated in four events over the week to make the top ten.  This is Mr. Graham’s first win.   (click for more)

New Hamilton County Marriage Licenses

Here are the new marriage licenses from the County Clerk's office: JEFFERY DEMOND MIREE                              ELIZABETH MICHELE BENFORD 3606 CENTRAL AVE APT A                            18 WHEAT ST CHATTANOOGA, TN 37410   ... (click for more)

Woman Who Took Truck Driver's Blood At Tragic Wreck Scene: "It Was Like Nothing Had Happened"

The woman who took a blood draw from a Kentucky truck driver who had just wrecked and claimed six lives said, "I was thrown by his demeanor. It was like nothing had happened." Lisa Martin told a jury from Nashville on Monday afternoon that Benjamin Scott Brewer kept asking when he could go home. Brewer was eventually allowed to leave, but was later charged and is facing trial ... (click for more)

Haslam Announces "Agressive, Comprehensive Plan" To End Tennessee's Opioid Epidemic

Joined by leadership from the House and Senate and Chief Justice Jeff Bivins, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam on Monday announced an aggressive and comprehensive plan to end the opioid epidemic in Tennessee by focusing on three major components: prevention, treatment and law enforcement. TN Together is a multi-faceted initiative that addresses the issue of opioid addiction through ... (click for more)

General Bell: This Government Shutdown Is Outrageous - And Response (2)

The day before yesterday two Army Apache Attack Helicopter pilots were killed in a crash during training at Fort Irwin, Ca.  The pilots and their unit were preparing for a future deployment to combat operations.    As a result of the government shutdown, none of the spouses or families of these pilots will receive a dime from the United States Government in immediate ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Making A Difference

It was about 50 years ago when the late writer Loren Eiseley penned an essay called “The Starfish Thrower” so it’s been one of my favorite stories for almost as long. It tells about a man who walks up to a young boy on a beach, this just after a strong storm had washed hundreds of helpless starfish onto the shore. The boy was picking up the stranded starfish and, one at a time, ... (click for more)