Westside Evolves Enters Phase Of Strategy Development

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Westside Evolves, a collaborative neighborhood planning initiative among the Chattanooga Design Studio, the city of Chattanooga, and the Chattanooga Housing Authority, has completed the second phase of their planning process. Westside residents and other stakeholders participated in a nine-month planning process that will provide a roadmap for revitalization of the neighborhood. 

The study area, known as the Westside District, is bordered by ML King Boulevard, Riverfront Parkway, Main Street and I-27, and includes properties owned by the Chattanooga Housing Authority and the city such as Boynton Terrace, College Hill Courts, Dogwood Manor, Gateway Tower, Riverview Tower, Sheila Jennings Park and the Youth and Family Development office site.   

The Chattanooga Design Studio engaged EJP Consulting Group to lead the project.  Work began with a survey during Phase One of the process last fall.  The surveys reached 690 Westside residents or approximately 46 percent of the 1,514 households in the neighborhood. Additionally, the planning team conducted a Residential Market Assessment and a Commercial Market Assessment to better understand the market potential for both housing and retail.  

The planning team worked with the community to understand the neighborhood’s history, as well as the residents’ desires for neighborhood improvements in the future, which guided a visioning process in Phase Two. One of the goals of the planning process is to provide a strategy that preserves all existing affordable housing units and expands housing options for various income levels. As the plan evolves, it will detail housing options, timelines and how families might be impacted.

While residents of College Hill Courts may be relocated during future construction, all lease compliant residents will have the Right to Return to a new unit in the Westside neighborhood. CHA residents will continue to pay 30 percent of their adjusted income towards rent at any redeveloped property.

Chattanooga Design Studio Executive Director Eric Myers said, “While Chattanooga’s downtown has experienced significant improvements over the last 20 years, the Westside has not been a part of the progress.  As plans are made to build out large areas near the community, it’s important for the Westside neighborhood to be at the table.  We’re grateful for the extensive input that we have received during the first two phases of the planning process. We are looking forward to the third stage of the process that will recommend draft plan options. We will then collect more feedback to guide the  fourth and final stage in June that consolidates into an implementation and action plan.” 

Mr. Myers shared that information will continue to be received and encouraged interested individuals to visit the project’s website, www.WestsideEvolves.com for additional information.  He also noted that it isn’t too late for individuals to become involved in the process.

“As our efforts continue, so will opportunities for individual involvement," said Mr. Myers. "It’s important that planning for the future of the community is guided by those who have called it home for generations.  Including their voices will provide a strong foundation for the future and we are extremely grateful.”



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