published Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Projects transforming the look of Chattanooga's 11th Street


by Cliff Hightower
Construction crews continue work on the roof of the wellness center located on 11th Street in Chattanooga on Monday. The center is expected to be completed by December 2012.
Construction crews continue work on the roof of the wellness center located on 11th Street in Chattanooga on Monday. The center is expected to be completed by December 2012.
Photo by Ashlee Culverhouse.
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    Construction crews continue work on the wellness center as they lift a air-conditioner unit onto the roof of the building located on 11th St. in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Monday, July 2, 2012. The center is expected to be completed by December 2012.
    Photo by Ashlee Culverhouse /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Three city blocks on 11th Street quickly are changing as a wellness center and police station go up on a former brownfield.

The work began in early spring on the stretch of the street between some railroad tracks and Central Avenue.

"By Christmas, it will be a completely different street," said Mayor Ron Littlefield.

The City Wellness Center is going up at a cost of $4.1 million, while the police station is going into a building being refurbished for $650,000, city officials said.

The city also is putting in a permeable sidewalk from the railroad tracks to Peeples Street. The sidewalk also will include back-in angled parking for police cruisers.

The whole area is being redone on the site of old brownfields. The police station is being built on the site of the former Farmer's Market while the Wellness Center sits on the old Chattanooga Gas Co. site.

Just a few months ago, the sites included an abandoned warehouse and a field next door with one tree in the middle of it. The warehouse has been painted and has plywood across the windows as it undergoes renovation for the police station. The wellness center occupies much of the field.

"It's undergoing a dramatic and attractive transformation," Littlefield said.

Once the police station is complete, it will serve North Chattanooga to Southside, house bicycle patrolmen and have space available for University of Tennessee at Chattanooga police officers, the mayor said.

Danny Thornton, interim director for Chattanooga's General Services Department, said work should be completed on the police station by September and the wellness center by December.

Hamilton County also is expected to begin construction on the county homeless health care center by the fall, which will sit on the other end of the block from the police station, he said.

The whole area should be active within a year, he said.

"It's always had potential," he said. "It's a part of the city we'll be putting back to use."

Contact staff writer Cliff Hightower at chightower@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6480. Follow him at twitter.com/cliffhightower or facebook.com/cliff.hightower.

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