The city opened the new Southside Community Park at 3500 Central Ave. with ceremonies on Wednesday.
Taking part were Mayor Andy Berke, District 7 Councilman Erskine Oglesby, former Councilman Chris Anderson, city of Chattanooga employees, and Alton Park community members.
It is at the site of the former Charles A.
Bell Elementary School, completing the transformation of the long-vacant site into a vibrant park and gathering place for the neighborhood.
WHO: City of Chattanooga elected officials including Mayor Andy Berke and District 7 Councilman Erskine Oglesby, former Councilman Chris Anderson, City of Chattanooga employees, and Alton Park community members.
It includes a pavilion, new green/lawn, freshly planted trees, walking track, benches and picnic tables.
Charles A. Bell Elementary closed as a school in 1989. An eyesore and potential safety concern, the county-owned structure was finally demolished in 2011. After the city of Chattanooga took over the site, Alton Park neighborhood leaders along with former District 7 Councilman Anderson and the city’s Department of Economic & Community Development held a community engagement process to create a new green space that would enhance the vibrancy of the neighborhood and connect residents with options for recreation and gathering.
Mayor Berke allocated $1 million in capital funds in FY15 to transform the site, and Chattanooga City Council approved the construction contract with P&C Construction in late December of 2016. After weather delays, construction began in late January 2017 and it was completed this summer.