published Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Planners hope to link new parks

Staff File Photo by John Rawlston
The Tennessee River curves around Moccasin Bend in between Lookout Mountain and downtown Chattanooga.
Staff File Photo by John Rawlston The Tennessee River curves around Moccasin Bend in between Lookout Mountain and downtown Chattanooga.
  • photo
    Karen Hundt, director of Chattanooga’s Design Center

IF YOU GO

What: Public meeting to discuss Gateway plan to connect and make the most of Moccasin Bend, Stringer’s Ridge, Renaissance Park and the Tennessee Riverwalk

When: 5:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: Chattanooga Convention Center.

In the next few years, two premiere parks will be under development in Chattanooga — Moccasin Bend National Archaeological District and Stringer’s Ridge.

Local planners and officials say the chance to seek ways of blending the two historical and recreational areas — even though they’re being developed separately — is too good to pass up.

“Focusing on each of these areas in isolation would certainly have led to missed opportunities,” according to Karen Hundt, a planner and the director of the Chattanooga Design Center in the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency. “How we protect and use the natural resources; how we develop the area leading into Moccasin Bend; how we connect these areas; and how they, in turn, connect to the surrounding community are questions we need to answer.”

The possibilities of connecting the two parks include trails and additional parks to join Moccasin Bend with both Stringers Ridge and Renaissance Park, according to Shelley Andrews, executive director of Friends of Moccasin Bend Park.

“By the end of the year, we hope to have a new trail open to get people out onto the Bend, and we’re working with the planning agency to create trails from Renaissance Park to the Bend,” she said.

To begin the explorations about that and other possibilities, the Design Center, the city, the National Park Service and the Trust for Public Land have scheduled a public meeting Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

Attendees will hear about proposed conceptual plans for the area that serves as the “gateway” to the new Moccasin Bend National Archaeological District and Stringer’s Ridge. Audience members also will have an opportunity to offer their feedback. The area being studied includes the Manufacturers Road, Hamm Road and Cherokee Boulevard corridors.

A nationally known landscape architectural group — Jones & Jones — is leading a team of national and local designers to help the community think through the issues and develop one shared vision for the entire area. The group also will identify actions needed to transform the vision into reality.

The National Park Service is developing a general management plan for Moccasin Bend. The Trust for Public Land already has conducted preliminary site assessments of Stringer’s Ridge. The Chattanooga City Council asked the regional planning agency to develop a plan for the Moccasin Bend Gateway that could connect the two.

Transportation projects, such as streetscape improvements to Manufacturers and Hamm roads, an extension of the Riverwalk, bicycle facilities, transit facilities and river taxis also will be explored during the planning process, officials said.

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about Pam Sohn...

Pam Sohn has been reporting or editing Chattanooga news for 25 years. A Walden’s Ridge native, she began her journalism career with a 10-year stint at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. She came to the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 1999 after working at the Chattanooga Times for 14 years. She has been a city editor, Sunday editor, wire editor, projects team leader and assistant lifestyle editor. As a reporter, she also has covered the police, ...

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