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N. Hamilton officials look forward to 2014

As the year draws to a close, it is time to look back on the big stories of 2013 that have shaped and will continue to drive the North Hamilton area forward to the future.

The most written about story in North Hamilton in the past year is the proposed 190-acre development at Highway 153 and Boy Scout Road. Chattanooga City Council rejected developer Duane Horton’s plans in January. New City Council representatives Chip Henderson in District 1, Jerry Mitchell in District 2 and Ken Smith in District 3 formed a committee of community members to discuss changes to the proposed development before Horton presents his revised plans to the Regional Planning Agency next month.

Other major events in the area include the unveiling of Northgate Mall’s new look as well as the opening of the new Red Bank Middle School.

Soddy-Daisy Mayor Janice Cagle said the city’s most significant accomplishment this year was adding a paid Fire Department.

“I think that was a major goal,” she said.

The city was also successful in keeping its crime rate low, said Cagle.

“Our clearance rate on every crime is really high,” she said. “Our Police Department is doing a good job.”

The city’s biggest challenges this year have included delays in paving projects as well as minimal success in promoting retail business.

“It seems to have been at a standstill for awhile,” said Cagle of growth in Soddy-Daisy’s retail business. “We want to ramp that back up and maintain what we already have and promote our city.”

Goals for 2014 include getting paving projects complete, adding more retail businesses and businesses in the city’s industrial park. The city also plans to apply for grant funding to replace the No. 3 fire hall on the south end of town, she said.

Red Bank Mayor John Roberts said many positive things happened in the city in 2013, including new residential developments, new businesses moving into the city and the acquisition of a new city manager.

“We’re putting together a plan and taking the city forward,” said Roberts. “I think we have finally got this thing straightened out and we’re on the right path for renewal in the city of Red Bank.”

He said the city has made great progress in its economic development.

“People used to laugh when I asked if they wanted to move their business to Red Bank,” said Roberts. “I think the image of Red Bank has changed.”

He said he is surprised at the businesses that are now wanting to relocate to the city, adding that he plans to announce in early January several new businesses moving into Red Bank.

“I think you’ll see more positive things in the city of Red Bank in 2014,” said Roberts.

He said the city’s biggest challenge is the slow pace of government.

“We’ve made some great strides this year,” said Roberts, adding that hiring City Manager Randall Smith caused significant improvement. “Randall is truly an asset for the city.”

He said he plans to reveal his goals for the city in 2014 at the next meeting of the Red Bank Chamber Council at Red Bank Community Center Tuesday, Jan. 20 at noon.