(Certified Best Practice by BMPCOE)
City of Chattanooga - Chattanooga, TN
Chattanooga's campaign for the quality of life for its citizens is reflected in the expansion of the Parks and Recreation Department. The department previously offered only basic, traditional programs because of limited resources, and clientele was normally limited to the poor inner-city. However, through Vision 2000, where the community reaffirmed that its recreational department was a quality of life
ingredient, and because of changes in the local government, Chattanooga set out with objectives to use its recreational resources as much as possible and not duplicate services. Consequently, discussions with related private concerns were initiated where there was an interest in building a partnership. Over 50 non-profit and private organizations have been used since 1994 to expand and
An example of these alliances is provided by a partnership established between the department and the Trust for Public Land to support the Greenway initiative. The relationship has saved the City over $60K annually and provided resources not locally available. The Trust for Public Land purchased the Greenway Farm, a 180-acre tract along the river slated for condominium development. With this purchase, the Greenway was extended, development for condominiums was halted, and a mansion on the property was converted into a Greenway Farm conference center for environmental education programs. A similar relationship was established with The Nature Center to provide oversight of the conference center and provide the environmental education programs. As a part of the lease, the City can bring inner-city children to the environmental education programs free of charge.
As a result of a community interests survey, the City wanted to develop a climbing wall to educate citizens and help them develop climbing skills. A local outdoor supply company also wanted to provide a training facility for rock climbing. The City consequently leased a pier of the walking bridge to this company to develop the facility. The company provided the initial capital investment and the annual
operating funds. A clause in the lease stipulates that the company provides over 400 hours of free instructional time to recreation participants from the inner city.
The success of the involvement of the nonprofit and private companies can be attributed to the quality-of-life issues Chattanooga is espousing, as well as the City actively seeking out partners, publicity from the two local newspapers, and the grassroots efforts to involve the community.