published Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

Chattanooga: Council OKs amended M.L. King proposal

by Cliff Hightower

Deleting a paragraph from a business district plan for the M.L. King neighborhood helped avert controversy Tuesday night at the Chattanooga City Council.

“We didn’t realize this amendment was a possibility,” said Julie Bage, a resident of the M.L. King neighborhood and designated spokeswoman for the neighborhood association.

Councilman Leamon Pierce asked to add an amendment that deleted the paragraph. It alluded to the city being involved with social services and homeless issues in the neighborhood.

The City Council approved the amended plan 9-0 on first reading.

The 116-page plan is intended to be a road map to revive the history and culture of the street and to develop it into what some hope eventually could become a “Beale Street of Chattanooga.”

Mr. Pierce had said earlier in the day during the Legal and Legislative Committee meeting that he would have an amendment. “I think the community’s concerns will be worked out,” he said.

Ms. Bage said the problems occurred when board members of the neighborhood association were looking over the newest draft and saw the wording in the questionable paragraph had changed from December.

She said she didn’t care how or who had changed it. “My goal was to get it out of there.”

Richard Beeland, spokesman for Mayor Ron Littlefield’s office, told council members the mayor had no objections.

“We didn’t insert it,” he said. “So they can remove it.”

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