Chattanooga’s popular Passage on the riverfront downtown should keep its waterfall on a staircase, but repairs could cost $1.5 million, officials said Wednesday.
The Chattanooga Downtown Redevelopment Corp. authorized TWH Architects to come back with a proposal to fix the Passage, which was closed earlier this year over safety concerns.
Bob Roza of TWH said plans call to repair a wall where tiles marking the Cherokee culture had fallen off. In addition, a fix to alleviate concerns about electrical grounding will be made, he said.
The repair plan is to be shown soon to members of the City Council, which may be asked to foot the bill, officials said.
Mike McMahan, an attorney for the panel, added that there could be legal remedies could be sought over workmanship.
“I see legal opportunities here,” he said.
Mr. Roza said if city officials sign off on the final plans, work could begin before the winter. Officials want to get the Passage fully operational for next summer.
The cost of doing lesser repairs — making the staircase waterfall one for viewing but not for sloshing — is projected at $900,000.
But Daisy Madison, city chief financial officer and the panel’s chairwoman, said the public reacted favorably to the Passage’s interactive water feature.
“We didn’t want to change the focus from that,” she said.
Panel member Dan Johnson, Mayor Ron Littlefield’s chief of staff, asked the group to adopt the interactive concept and for TWH to come up with a proposal for fees for construction documents.
“I think the use of it dictates it be interactive,” he said.
Steve Leach, the city’s public works administrator, said the goal is to get the Passage open in 2009.
Mr. Roza said there’s some urgency to begin so masonry work won’t be carried out in the winter months.
The city panel earlier had approved an $85,000 study to look at the problems of the Passage, which first opened about three years ago.
The Passage was part of then-Mayor Bob Corker’s 21st Century Waterfront Project, a $120 million public-private initiative.
Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...