Chattanooga Housing Authority officials said they are readying to begin a survey sought by the City Council on whether current College Hill Courts residents would want to return to the site after it is rebuilt.
CHA officials also said that if the TIF District for the Westside and The Bend does not go through that the agency will have to start boarding up buildings at College Hill Courts.
A CHA statement says, "The Chattanooga Housing Authority/Westside Evolves is committed to doing what is best for the residents we serve as well as for the city we all love. The City Council previously requested a phasing plan that was provided today. The phasing plan is a key part of the Westside Evolves plan that was adopted by the City Council last November.
"The City Council has requested the CHA to provide a survey of Westside residents to provide a snapshot in time of their desires regarding housing. The CHA will not only do the survey, but will do so annually moving forward and will present the findings to present and future councils.
"The CHA is disappointed that a meeting scheduled for Thursday to discuss details of the plan presented to the Council was cancelled; however, the time will be used to go door-to-door with residents, our partners and friends to conduct a survey.
"The CHA recently hosted five meetings to discuss rezoning issues with residents. Over 150 individuals attended. No elected officials attended, even though invitations were provided and information was posted to all CHA social media pages and throughout the neighborhoods. The CHA is not only open to conversations, but has requested them throughout the process. We will continue to ask for meetings and invite elected officials to join us in the important conversations to come.
"The CHA is going to send draft survey questions to the Council tomorrow morning for consideration before the surveys commence. Any additional questions will be added to the survey and provided to the CHA through Mayor Kelly’s office. The survey will be ready for review by the Council by Monday, Oct. 10, for deliberation on the following day.
"In 2020, as the project began in the Westside, residents were asked what they would like to call the project for their neighborhood. Their response was, “Westside Evolves.” We are genuinely excited for residents who will have construction jobs in the neighborhood throughout the life of the project. This will lead to good paying jobs and an end to generational poverty, which is part of the Westside Evolves effort, but it all starts with the coming days.
"As stated in today’s meeting, the CHA is making plans to apply for a HUD Choice Neighborhood grant that will leverage up to $270 million for this project; however, the deadline is in December and an application cannot be submitted without the financial support of the TIF under consideration.
"If the TIF doesn’t move forward, the CHA will have no other choice but to board up buildings as they become uninhabitable. Two recent fires over the last few months led to that action being taken. With buildings over 80 years old, there are no other options. The future of the Westside hinges on this project.
"We look forward to what the future holds for this historic neighborhood. Our continued commitment is to make sure that Westside’s future is one that will make our residents and our city proud."
CHA officials said a meeting with City Council Chair Raquetta Dotley is back on for Thursday.