A group led by former Circuit Court Judge Neil Thomas is planning a major make-over for the reworked section of U.S. 27 between I-24 and the Olgiati Bridge.
The Tennessee Interstate Conservancy plans a "Gateway to Chattanooga" project that will include the installation of over 1,000 trees, 1,300 day lilies, 1,200 blue iris and over four acres of wildflowers.
The project area spans more than 22 acres of landscape installing, featuring 100 species of plants.
The local project is serving as a pilot for the beautification of the Interstate Highway System by the state of Tennessee.
The Chattanooga Department of Public Works is entering into an agreement with the state of Tennessee, Hamilton County, and the Thomas group to maintain the landscaping.
The city’s annual contribution will be $62,500.
Ragan + Smith Associates drew up the plans for the ambitious local project.
Gene Hyde, city forester, said, "I believe that the project will serve both residents and visitors alike in terms of speedier travel, safer connections and unparalleled landscaping enhancements, all of which were shepherded along by the newly created Tennessee Interstate Conservancy. TIC has been instrumental in guiding the development of the landscape plan, as well as reaching out to other communities across the state with the message that a new day of landscaping has dawned and, yes, you too can follow our paradigm and be successful."
Judge Thomas is president of the group and Jane Hampton Bowen is executive director. The board also includes Carol Berz, Dan Jacobsen and Virginia Ann Sharber.
Judge Thomas said earlier that he became interested in freeway beautification after driving through Western North Carolina and seeing masses of wildflowers there.