published Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

City Council passes Chattanooga's nearly $97 million capital budget

Councilman Chris Anderson plans to begin hosting community meetings by next month to start developing a 10-acre park that could range from athletic fields to a playground in Alton Park.

As part of Chattanooga's nearly $97 million capital budget that was approved in a first reading Tuesday night, the city is allocating $1 million toward a long-awaited park at the former Charles A. Bell School.

The City Council voted Tuesday night to take the land back from Hamilton County as part of a previous deal where county officials received a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant to clean the site and then agreed to transfer the property back to the city.

The city's capital budget includes about $36 million for general funds use for projects such as restoring the Walnut Street Bridge, tearing down the former Harriet Tubman public housing site for $4 million for a future industrial site and $1.8 million to expand the city's curbside recycling program.

About two-thirds of that budget is allocated to fixing the city's interceptor sewer system that the city has been federally mandated to fix through a consent decree for dumping raw sewage into the Tennessee River as well as water quality improvements.

In other business:

• The council announced a public hearing for July 29 to discuss a new noise ordinance after Southside residents have consistently complained about the loud concerts at Track 29.

• The council approved the first reading of an ordinance to regulate building fronts, street edges and parking along a one-mile stretch of Brainerd Road called the Brainerd Overlay project.

• The council voted to rezone 1329 and 1349 Gunbarrel Road to turn the homes into a bed and breakfast and vacation rental property.

• The council approved a four-year property tax break to Chattem Chemicals for its St. Elmo campus expansion, where the company plans to invest $6 million and add 25 employees. The payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement gives Chattem, a division of Sun Pharma, a break on city and county taxes that will start at 100 percent and shrink to 50 percent by the fourth year. The company still must pay the school portion of its property taxes.

Contact staff writer Joy Lukachick at jlukachick@timesfree or 423-757-6659.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press Since 2009, she's covered breaking news, high-profile trials, stories of lost lives and of regained hope and done investigative work. Raised near the Bayou, Joy’s hometown is along the outskirts of Baton Rouge, La. She has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Louisiana State University. While at LSU, Joy was a staff writer for the Daily Reveille. When Joy isn't chasing ...

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