City Of Chattanooga Taking Part In Putting Assets To Work Program

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The city of Chattanooga will join five other communities across the country in the inaugural Putting Assets to Work Incubator, that is described as "a selective new initiative that will revitalize and recirculate underutilized property and other assets to drive prosperity across the city."


Officials said, "Instead of sitting on old properties, using them for storage, or allowing them to become overgrown and blighted, the initiative will help the city propel these community assets back into circulation where they can both grow the economy and increase funding for key initiatives.


"As part of Mayor Tim Kelly’s 100-day plan in 2021, the city inventoried more than 650 underutilized parcels totaling more than 2,500 acres that could be leveraged toward a higher and better use.

Each property is unique, ranging from surplus tax sale properties to difficult-to-develop brownfields, and must be further studied to determine an appropriate use. 


"Through Putting Assets to Work, the city will embark on a 10-month fact-finding mission to map and plan uses for these underutilized properties and other assets - such as dormant parking lots or former industrial sites - that could be suitable for private investment. A similar project in Utah revealed a collection of underutilized assets that were worth billions of dollars in economic opportunity.


"The city will then leverage these assets to create jobs and homes while still retaining public ownership of the underlying properties. The proceeds will return to the community in the form of new revenue for key initiatives that support the One Chattanooga strategic plan, such as affordable housing and transportation infrastructure investments, creating a virtuous cycle." 


Mayor Kelly said, “By participating in the Putting Assets to Work Incubator, our city is getting an incredible opportunity to leverage its public assets in an innovative way. With increased returns on previously underutilized assets, we’ll be able to better fund critical initiatives like affordable housing and infrastructure improvements, improving the quality of life in our communities.”  


The Putting Assets to Work Incubator is a new initiative spearheaded by former Mayor and Congressman Ben McAdams, in partnership with the Sorenson Impact Center, Government Finance Officers Association, and Urban3. The city was selected to participate through a competitive application process, joining five other local governments: the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Resilience Authority, in Annapolis, Maryland, and Anne Arundel County, Maryland; the City of Atlanta, Georgia; the City of Cleveland, Ohio; Harris County, Texas; and the City of Lancaster, California. 


“We are absolutely delighted to start working with the city of Chattanooga,” said Mr. McAdams, who served as Mayor of Salt Lake County from 2013 to 2019 before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. “When I was mayor, we identified all government-owned assets within the county and were shocked to discover they were valued at roughly $10 billion. That's huge for a jurisdiction our size. If we are able to improve the public return on our assets even slightly, we can start to address some of the major challenges facing our region. Now through our Putting Assets to Work incubator, we hope to be able to provide a blueprint for others to do the same.”


The PAW Incubator is made possible by a partnership with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based think tank dedicated to improving quality of life through the effective use, taxation, and stewardship of land; and thanks to support from Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt that brings talented people together in networks to prove out their ideas and solve hard problems in science and society.



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