published Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Council questions riverfront review


by Cliff Hightower
Audio clip

City Council meeting - 03/15/2011

The Chattanooga City Council voted 5-3 Tuesday to approve a $610,000 study of the 21st Century Waterfront, even as council members questioned whether the measure should go ahead without knowing an “endgame.”

“I’m not really sure I understand the endgame, and I feel what we’re doing is a shotgun effort,” said Councilwoman Deborah Scott.

Scott, along with Councilmen Jack Benson and Russell Gilbert, voted against the resolution.

The resolution called for HDR Engineering Inc. to conduct a study on the waterfront around Ross’s Landing to find out what problems exist and how to fix them. City officials have said there are problems with settling and cracking along the hard concrete edge of the boat dock.

City officials said they would also like the engineering company to check electrical and mechanical problems.

But some council members balked Tuesday at the cost of the study, saying it was only a first phase and no one knew how much the entire cost of repairs would be.

“I don’t think we’re in a position where we can walk away from it, say, ‘$4 million is too much, let it slide in the river,’” Councilman Peter Murphy said.

Benson said he had some concerns about the costs. City officials said the money would come from hotel/motel tax funds.

Councilwoman Sally Robinson said she felt like the study would lead to the “endgame.”

“I think we can go on with this and get the answers we’re looking for,” she said.

WHAT’S NEXT

Four Chattanooga City Council members will be at the Chattanooga Tea Party forum at 7 p.m. Thursday to discuss the budget. Councilwomen Carol Berz and Deborah Scott and Councilmen Jack Benson and Andraé McGary will take questions. The forum will be at the Homebuilder’s Association of Southeastern Tennessee at 3221 Harrison Pike.

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