City Council Approves New Planning And Parks Directors

  • Tuesday, January 11, 2022
Dan Reuter
Dan Reuter

The City Council on Tuesday approved Mayor Tim Kelly's appointment of two top city officials.

Dan Reuter will be city planning director as well as executive director of the Regional Planning Agency.

He now heads RSI Strategy LLC, a planning and economic firm in Georgia.

Scott Martin will be administrators of parks and outdoors.

He is currently executive director of the River Heritage Conservancy Inc. in Indiana.

A national search was conducted for both positions.

Mr. Reuter will join City Planning on Jan. 18, while Mr. Martin will start Feb. 1.

“As the greater-Chattanooga economy continues to grow, the City is incredibly fortunate to have candidates with national reputations and extensive experience to lead both our parks and planning functions,” said Mayor Tim Kelly. “Both Dan and Scott have demonstrated a strong commitment to community engagement and equity of access to high-quality public infrastructure throughout their careers. We have a real opportunity to capitalize on their expertise to build the beautiful, diverse, climate-resilient neighborhoods of the future—the kind that world-class cities enjoy.

"For three decades Dan Reuter has worked in planning, transportation, and development in the state of Georgia, where he’s managed projects supporting redevelopment, Community Improvement Districts, and planning for local and regional governments. Dan comes to the city of Chattanooga from RSI, a planning and economic-development firm based in Decatur, Ga. From 1999-2016, he managed Land Use and Community Development at the Atlanta Regional Commission, and from 2004-2008 he was an adjunct professor at Georgia Tech’s City and Regional Planning program.

"Reuter is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and since 2005 he’s served on the American Planning Association’s Legislative and Policy Committee. Reuter is past Chair of the APA Regional Planning Division, where he launched the Livable Communities Forum and served as President of the Georgia Planning Association. Prior to ARC, he directed the Douglas and Glynn County Planning and Zoning Departments, and he was also a Transportation Planner for the Savannah-Chatham and Athens-Clarke County MPOs. He holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Georgia, and a Master of Science degree from Georgia State University. Reuter has launched several nonprofit organizations including the Chamblee Doraville CID, Peachtree Gateway Partnership, Aerotropolis Atlanta, and the 75 Central Corridor Coalition."

Mr. Reuter said, “Mayor Kelly and I share the view that residents and neighborhoods must consistently be engaged in planning decisions, so we’re building great places that are affordable, sustainable, healthy and resilient. I’m excited to collaborate with city staff at Planning and other departments, the philanthropic and business sectors, City Council, and neighbors to capitalize on Chattanooga’s strengths and envision a more equitable future.”

Mr. Martin comes to Chattanooga from the River Heritage Conservancy, a non-profit that created the 600-acre Origin Park on the Ohio River, where he served as executive director. Other previous, park-leadership roles Mr. Martin has held include: Partnership Coordinator for the park system in Boise, Id. where he helped to pass a ballot measure resulting in $10 million in new revenues for open-space preservation; Director of Parks and Recreation as well as Director of Commerce and Leisure Services for Franklin County, Va.; and Parks Director for The Parklands of Floyds Fork, a 4000-acre public park system in Louisville, Ky.

Mr. Martin is North American Co-Chair and Executive Board member for World Urban Parks; in 2021 he became a Fellow in the American Academy for Parks and Recreation Administration. His expertise on stewardship and design of urban public land has been shared with audiences in Australia, Canada, Europe, and Mexico. He curated World Urban Parks’ 2020 “Park Leadership” series, which highlighted global innovation in park-service equity, climate change, economic impact, homelessness in parks, and healing for underserved communities. In 2009 Virginia Governor Tim Kaine appointed him to the Virginia Recreational Facilities Commission. Martin holds a BA and an MPA from Boise State University.

He said, “Chattanooga is the ‘Scenic City’ because of its longstanding embrace of exceptional public green spaces. Cities with because of its longstanding embrace of exceptional public green spaces. Cities with robust park systems have healthier, happier people. Parks also offer urgently needed sanctuary for biodiversity, and resilience to urban heat and flooding as the climate changes. I’m excited to help the new Department of Parks and Outdoors to build and maintain a connected network of beautiful, fun parks – civic amenities for neighbors to enjoy together and take pride in.”

In June 2021, Mayor Kelly unveiled a reorganization plan to better align City government with priority policy areas in his administration’s One Chattanooga strategic plan. To create a more streamlined organization focused on outdoor activities, several functions spread across multiple City departments were consolidated under a new Department of Parks and Outdoors, soon to be led by Scott Martin, including:

·         Parks Planning transferred from Open Spaces;

·         Parks Programming was consolidated, from both Youth and Family Development and Open Spaces;

·         Parks Maintenance was transferred from Public Works;

·         Greenways and Neighborhood Connectivity was transferred from CDOT;

·         Outdoor Chattanooga was transferred from Economic & Community Development;

·         Special Events was transferred from Open Spaces;

·         Outdoor recreation was transferred from Youth and Family Development;

·         and Golf Courses was transferred from Public Works.

Scott Martin
Scott Martin
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