Chattanooga has always been my (stealing a term from the Gipper) shining city on a hill. In the 1980's, a group of dedicated community servants like Jack Lupton, Ron Littlefield, Senator Bob Corker, Mai Bell Hurley and Rick Montague had a vision.
They saw a wonderful city in decline and they were willing to undertake the enormous effort to make that change; not for them but for all of us. We saw the fruits of their labor in the Tennessee Aquarium, a revitalized downtown that became clean and prosperous with a new greener image and a gorgeous new waterfront championed by then Mayor Corker.
Chattanooga truly became the new Dynamo of Dixie and everyone wanted to be here. Our economy and tourism industries were booming and we were off to the races.
I realize what I am about to say is probably going to cause me some backlash but I am firmly committed to my beliefs in this regard.
That same beautiful city with a beautiful downtown, tourist attractions and new image are all still there but sadly that image is changing and not for the better. As I sit here typing this at my office, my hands are shaking because another good man, a native Chattanoogan, was cut down in a brazen act of violence next to Warehouse Row last night. As I spoke to one of my high school classmates, it struck me that this wasn't the first member of our group to suffer this same fate. We still have those beautiful places but now they are becoming crime scenes.
Most of you probably know me or have known an Arch before me. I get real far because of someone else's hard work and I jokingly explain to folks that "I am just trying not to run my name in the ditch." Well, if I don't say something now I am doing exactly that.
Our city is becoming a hotbed for violent crime and has been for some time. Our Mayberry and my Shining City on the Hill is changing drastically. My perspective on life is different now that I have kids and I feel so horrible for a family that doesn't have their son this morning. There is a lack of direction in the leadership of CPD and it is causing anguish and pain to many while beginning to drive revenue out of our community. We have to decide to make a change.
Y'all, it is time to take a stand and remember that we are an incredibly resilient community and that community can only thrive when we feel safe.
Arch E. Trimble IV, CIC, RYT-500