Everyone wants a great place to live. In Chattanooga, I want that to be the case no matter what zip code you live in. Making neighborhoods strong not only improves housing and quality of life, it also improves the economy around the neighborhood. That’s why over the past four years I’ve worked each day to build stronger neighborhoods in every corner of Chattanooga.
Upon taking office, I streamlined city government to focus on stronger neighborhoods by creating the department of Economic & Community Development. Now, through this new department, the City is actively focused on recruiting and training neighborhood leadership, growing the number of quality affordable housing units throughout the city, and ensuring every neighborhood is a clean and safe place to live. Because strong neighborhoods are built on good infrastructure, we’ve added new sidewalks and repaired existing ones to make our communities more walkable, doubled the money put into paving roads, and invested in creating and improving parks and community centers. And our work has paid off. We’ve seen tremendous growth in the amount of new housing being built in our city, and today we have more neighborhood associations with trained leadership than ever before.
But our work is not done. Yesterday City Councilman Jerry Mitchell and I stood with neighbors of District 2 on the site of the former Dixie Yarns factory in Lupton City to announce that the City will be cleaning up the blighted and dangerous property. In the 1920’s, Lupton City was built as a company town with the factory at its center. The mill was sold to out of town developers in 2012, who demolished what was there and left behind a pile of rubble and debris. This eyesore, in the middle of a Chattanooga neighborhood, is dangerous and harms the lives of everyone around it.
Cleaning up this 12 acre site in Lupton City is part of a broader strategy to revitalize existing brownfield sites, located throughout the city, over the next four years. We can transform these brownfields — often former industrial sites with environmental impacts — into clean, green, and attractive properties for new housing, businesses, parks or other important parts of a strong neighborhood. Along with this new Brownfield strategy, we’ll continue our progress to improve run down homes and condemned structures. Over the past four years strong neighborhood leadership and strong community partnerships have helped preserve houses and neighborhoods. In fact, in 2016 code enforcement brought 11,688 properties into compliance, and 33 percent fewer homes were condemned compared to 2015. By fighting blight in Chattanooga we are moving closer to ensuring every neighborhood is a great place to live.
I’m running for re-election so that we can make Chattanooga the best mid-sized city in America. Together, we will win the election and continue our investments in neighborhoods across the city.