published Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Mayor Andy Berke to Lincoln Park residents: 'We want and need your input'

A sign marks the Lincoln Park neighborhood at the intersection of Cleveland Avenue and Central Avenue.
A sign marks the Lincoln Park neighborhood at the intersection of Cleveland Avenue and Central Avenue.
Photo by Doug Strickland.

No money will be drawn for a planned Central Avenue extension until the concerns of Lincoln Park-area residents are heard, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke's office announced Monday.

The planned $6 million extension is intended to connect Central to Riverside Drive. Officials previously said that will mean less traffic around the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, shorter travel times to Erlanger hospital and more potential for economic development.

But the plan has some area residents worrying that it will cut land from their neighborhood and put big rigs and other traffic through the area.

The City Council approved hiring a consultant this year to help with state and federal environmental reviews and design. But the mayor said he'll add a requirement to today's funding resolution at the Transportation Planning Organization's meeting. The resolution mandates that the city participate in "authentic civic engagement" with neighbors and report its findings to the TPO before drawing any federal money for the project.

"I want to say loud and clear to the residents of Lincoln Park and surrounding neighborhoods -- we will make you a part of any process that affects your neighborhood," Berke said in a news release. "We want and need your input."

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