Chattanooga, Spring Is In The Air

  • Tuesday, April 5, 2022

There are few things my wife and I love to do more than walk around Chattanooga. We are both graduates of UTC and have considered walking the streets of downtown one of our favorite activities for many years (We have simple hobbies). On a day this week, I was walking in the warm Spring sun and a thought occurred to me. The entire Chattanooga area is in a season of Spring. Not in a meteorological sense, but in a metaphorical sense.

It can be easy, almost natural, to get in a negative/bad mood if you pay attention to national news, but let’s look at our city for a few minutes and appreciate what we have built together.

Quickly, a brief background story. I will not spend too much of your valuable time poring over the already beaten horse that is Chattanooga’s past. Long story short: it was polluted, dirty, run-down, and lacked a vision for the future. (People that remember this time fondly please do not think I am insulting this time. It was needed to make the city what it is today.) People moved out of the city and business came to a lull. Industries started to pack up and shut down. What would Chattanooga do to revitalize the city? How do we get out the outside world to buy-in to Chattanooga’s future?  Then something changed, and 30+ years later we have the city we know and love today.

Now, let's look at the “State of the City/County”.

Fresh Leadership

In the coming election cycle, the people of Hamilton County will elect a new county mayor. We, the people of Hamilton County, can’t lose with any of these candidates. Each one has his/her own plan and vision for the county, and I hope the will of the people is represented well by the winner. Regardless of who wins, a fresh look will be taken at how the county needs to strategically place itself to be a “Dynamo of Dixie” for the next 50 years.

There is a new city mayor who has already implemented many new programs and plans to deal with the current issues facing the residents of the city of Chattanooga. There is a new focus on data driven solutions and using our tech base to benefit all people throughout the city (This has been in the works for a long time and shows the vision of Chattanooga leadership). We are moving into the future. Not looking back and ballyhooing the Chattanooga of yesteryear. 

Renewal of Industry and Communities 

When it was announced that Volkswagen was building a world class plant in Chattanooga, I highly doubt many people knew what that would really mean to the future of Chattanooga. Thousands of good paying jobs have been brought to our area either directly or indirectly by this development. Chattanooga became a national icon for high speed Internet, and a buzzing community for startups has emerged. One would be remiss not to highlight the exponential rise of Chattanooga’s freight and brokerage industry. These are companies like Steam Logistics, Trident Transport, Avenger Logistics, USXpress Inc, etc. (Who knew what a freight broker was 10 years ago?)

Communities from all over the city are seeing growth in ways many thought impossible just 15 years ago. Old homes are being renovated. New homes go up at a breakneck pace. Once vibrant city centers are regaining the popularity and prestige that was lost for a generation. New parks are being planned and historic parks refurbished. Schools are getting the desperate attention they deserve for repairs/improvements. Everywhere you look you see growth/renewal.

A Unique Dynamic

Now it's time to infuriate half of you reading this with a little bit of optimism when it comes to Chattanooga's cultural/political future. As with all things, cities need balance. They need people to hawkishly watch the budget, and they also need artists to inspire beauty throughout the city (Yes, you could be a budget hawk that loves art, but I’ve never met one). And here lies our best kept secret: We have (up to this point) found a way to leave national politics in Washington and focus on building a vibrant and beautiful Chattanooga for the future. The balanced contrast of Chattanooga's cultural/political climate is one I highly doubt you will find in many other places. Chattanooga can continue to be “weird” but still possess some special remnants of what makes this place different. Do not mistake me, we must never abandon our principles and core beliefs but in that way we will continue to be a beacon of Southern hospitality to the rest of the country. We are a town focused on going forward, not looking back. A town that hasn’t forgotten where it came from but knows where it’s going. 

Chattanooga, Spring is in the air. 

Austin Moore


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