Original Date: 04/22/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Riverpark
The Tennessee Riverpark provides an excellent example of a successful greenway in Chattanooga as well as illustrates the grass roots dedication by a citizen to "return to the river." A local citizen and avid fisherman had a dream and maintained for over 20 years that every child should have an opportunity to fish, and his persistence is credited as a significant reason why state and City officials were eventually convinced to sponsor the project. As with the area's other greenway initiatives, a citizen's task group was appointed to study and define priorities for the Tennessee River corridor through Chattanooga. This linear park is an eight-mile stretch of greenway with open meadows, picnic facilities, playgrounds, a rowing center, fishing piers, boat docks, a restored antique carousel, an interactive water fountain, and a 105-year old bridge restored as the world's longest pedestrian bridge.
After addressing initial concern that building parks and connecting them was just a way for developers to make money, citizens embraced the 20-year Riverpark plan. With a projected cost of $750M in 1985, $150M was needed from the public coffers. A public/private partnership implemented the Riverpark plan, and local foundations and financial institutions raised $12M in non-restrictive grant funds that were used as a revolving fund to assemble land, create plans, and serve as an incentive for public and private investments.
Riverpark is a catalyst for development including new industry, retail, office space, restaurants, museums, galleries, and housing. The Tennessee Riverpark is a focal point for residents, tourists, and businessmen and with the Tennessee Aquarium as its main attraction is indeed bringing people "back to the river."
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.