Thursday, December 13, 2012
City officials are progressing with the North Shore Parks Plan adopted in May 2012 for the area between Coolidge Park and the Moccasin Bend Archaeological District.
“It will become a park you mainly walk through,” Pam Glaser, senior planner for the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency advisory committee, told the North Chattanooga Chamber Council in regards to the Moccasin Bend gateway area. “It’s being done in phases.”
The RPA worked with Seattle-based firm Jones & Jones on the North Shore Parks Plan thanks to funding provided by entities such as the Lyndhurst Foundation, she said. Factors considered in planning included ways to boost economic development, ease of accessibility, the creation of public space, sustainability, maximizing the natural environment and incorporating interpretive learning opportunities.
She said the plan includes building “complete streets,” streetscapes designed for use by pedestrians, cyclists and automobiles, as one leaves the urban core from Highway 27 heading west on Manfacturers Road toward Moccasin Bend. The Tennessee Department of Transportation will also be constructing 12-foot multi-use sidewalks down Cherokee Boulevard extending to the Manning Street area.
“The idea is that TDOT didn’t come in and create the standard on/off-ramp,” said Glaser in regards to the Manufacturers Road exit from Highway 27.
Opportunity exists for the Tennessee Riverwalk to be extended down Manufacturers Road and meander back toward “Forget Me Not” Creek (so-called because no one remembers its actual name, said Glaser) and eventually reach all the way to Moccasin Bend.
The RPA is working with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and organizations such as the Trust for Public Land to create interpretive sites and other learning opportunities related to the area’s rich Civil War, Native American and manufacturing history.
The visitor center for Moccasin Bend National Park is currently in the conceptual design phase, Glaser said.
In order to begin improvements to Manufacturers Road, she said the project will need to be included in the city’s 2014 Capital Improvements Budget.
“We’re looking for corporations that might want to sponsor the Manufacturers park,” she said.
A traffic study is needed on Cherokee Boulevard before its transformation into a complete street.
The possibility of extending the boundary of the C-7 North Shore Commercial/Mixed Use Zone down Cherokee Boulevard and North Market Street is also being discussed, said Sarah Kurtz, historic preservation planner for the city of Chattanooga. Rezoning those areas would require developers to follow design guidelines that promote mixed-use communities with residential and public spaces, maximize the viewshed, establish building density and maintain Frazier Avenue’s small-business atmosphere.
The recently redesigned trails in Stringer’s Ridge Park are closed for now as city officials remove dangerous trees from the property, said Rick Wood, area director in Tennessee for the Trust for Public Land.
“We don’t have an established time of opening at this point, but we’re working to get it open as soon as possible,” he said. “We’re working with the city of Chattanooga on what we call ‘final checklist items’ to make sure we and the city are ready [to begin the area’s transition to a city park].”
TPL is now in the process of studying the park’s accessibility, from parking to signage to emergency response routes, said Wood.
“These are extremely important to a successful facility,” he said.