Chattanooga Riverwalk

Originally reported by WVUA 23 Reporter Jabaree Prewitt

People from around the world take advantage of Chattanooga, Tennessee’s $120 million riverfront redevelopment. Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said it’s a jewel in the downtown crown.

Many new upscale townhomes, condos and apartments sit within the prime location of Fourth Street to the banks of the Tennessee River. A project that’s been in the makings for years.

“Well, there’s no doubt, downtown this the driver for the region we’ve always looked at it as the front door for our community,” said President and CEO of River City Company Kim White.

Audrey Buck, deputy director of Urban Development for the city of Tuscaloosa said the western Riverwalk has already been chosen for about $5 million in improvements. But the success came with one recipe.

“I think what was so fascinating is just the commitment from the community partners from the private and public investments that they were all centered in making downtown great again,” Buck said.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said he was impressed with Chattanooga’s downtown improvements and feels that Tuscaloosa can emulate some of these improvements.

“Those elements have turned Chattanooga into one of America’s great cities,” Maddox said. “The other thing I feel really good about is we’re not that far behind. We’ve already started the riverfront development, we already have private sector investment in our downtown riverfront. The things we see here in Chattanooga can be realities in Tuscaloosa in five to 10 years.”

Maddox, along with over 100 people, got a first-hand look at Chattanooga’s riverfront development during the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama’s recent benchmarking trip.

“I think the downtown emergence is going to help Tuscaloosa downtown is going to develop our riverfront on both sides of the river so we know that downtown is the lynchpin by which everything happens,” Maddox said. “If you think about it its sort of a planetary aspect, your downtown is going to be the sun of your solar system and if you make your downtown strong and vibrant, you are going to make the rest of your community strong and vibrant.”

The vision that has become a reality for downtown Chattanooga is a similar vision Maddox sees in his Elevate Tuscaloosa plan.

“I see it and I think we can do better,” Maddox said. “I mean I really believe it I think Senator Corker touched on it today they’re looking to reload and I think we can reload right there with them I believe we’re the best city in the nation and I believe we can do it better.”

Despite the excited, White re-iterated that the development did not happen overnight.

“Downtown development is very difficult and sometimes its better not to have anything happen than to have the wrong thing happen,” White said. “So people get impatient and frustrated but just know that its really is worth taking your time and making sure it’s the right thing.”

Categories: Community