Conceptual planning stage begins for Stringer's Ridge Park

Conceptual planning stage begins for Stringer's Ridge Park

March 9th, 2011 by Emily Crisman in Community Hixson

The Trust for Public Land is working with the Planning and Design Studio of the city of Chattanooga's Regional Planning Agency to move forward with the Stringer's Ridge Park project.

"We met our financial campaign goals, which is the biggest part of making sure we own and control the land," said Rick Wood, executive director of the Trust for Public Land.

TPL was successful in raising $2.4 million since the campaign was launched September 2008.

"Stringer's Ridge is an icon - you see it wherever you go, which makes it much easier to raise money for," said Wood. "This community knows how important its assets are and can really come together for things like this."

He said the Planning and Design Studio will lead the next phase in the park's overall master plan.

"The property has already been getting a lot more use since it has been owned by TPL," said Mark McKnight, board member of Wild Trails, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the use and expansion of trails in the Chattanooga area.

Strategic-planning meetings will be coordinated this spring and summer to involve in the process the many user groups, partners and residents who hold an interest in the property, said Wood.

Plans include strategically purchasing a vein of land with the purpose of connecting the Stringer's Ridge Park with Moccasin Bend National Park and the Chattanooga Riverwalk, he said.

Wild Trails founder Jonathan Mobley said plans discussed at the recent meeting of the North Chattanooga Council of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce also involved the beautification of Manufacturers and Hamm roads to make the connecting corridor more inviting.

The most recent step taken by Regional Planning Agency was tentatively choosing a consultant to work on the project, and a contract should be worked out within the month, said Karen Hundt, director of the Planning and Design Studio.

"We're looking at it from a conceptual level," she said of the current stage in the planning process, which right now is focused on issues such as which areas need to be protected and where the best location would be for a parking lot. "I hope we get involvement from lots of people in the process."

She said the agency is exploring possibilities for educating the public on the history of Stringer's Ridge and Moccasin Bend in addition to the recreational opportunities the park provides.

Wood said 22,000 people live within two miles of Stringer's Ridge, and the park increases quality of life in the area by providing easy access to outdoor spaces.

"It's something that sets Chattanooga apart and makes us different," said Wood. "It's part of what makes us a desirable place to live and a desirable place for companies to invest."