A site on Stringer’s Ridge that had been considered for a condo development earlier this year is a step closer to becoming a public park instead.
The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission on Monday endorsed a Chattanooga request for a lease-purchase agreement with the Trust for Public Land for a portion of the site.
“This gives the city the flexibility to accept the property at a later date,” said Garnet Chapin, who lives near the site.
Mr. Chapin was one of the neighborhood residents who voiced concerns early this year when two South Carolina developers had proposed rezoning 98 acres to build 504 dwellings, including high-rise condos.
The Trust for Public Land has discussed buying 92 acres of the site and owning it for two years, then giving it to the city. The trust is seeking $2.5 million to buy the property. Jimmy Hudson owns the property, which already is approved to allow the construction of apartment buildings.
Mr. Hudson, of Grubb & Ellis/Hudson, could not be reached for comment.
The South Carolina developers quit the project after intense public opposition, including those who worried about the site’s Civil War history and the possible disturbance of a layer of rock that produces radon gas. Other opponents decried the developers’ plans to lower the height of the ridge.
The Chattanooga City Council last week approved a $150,000 contribution toward the land’s acquisition. Jack Benson, who is both a planning commissioner and Chattanooga city councilman, voted against the contribution at the city council meeting.
On Monday he voted for the lease-purchase agreement.
Mr. Benson said he is for the park idea, but did not want to spend funds during an economic crisis that did not go for essential city services.
“With clouds hanging over the world with the economic situation, I want to make certain we’ve got enough money,” Mr. Benson said.