East Chattanooga's Tubman site future topic of community meeting

East Chattanooga's Tubman site future topic of community meeting

June 5th, 2014 by Yolanda Putman in Local Regional News

The former Harriet Tubman Homes site in East Chattanooga, seen here from Missionary Ridge, was built in 1953.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

IF YOU GO

* What: Harriet Tubman site community meeting

* When: 5 p.m. today

* Where: Love Fellowship Baptist Church, 1811 Roanoke Ave.

Residents of the community around the soon-to-be-demolished Harriet Tubman housing site in East Chattanooga want the 36-acre site turned into an "urban village" that includes housing and employment opportunities.

"I know they're saying 'bring jobs'," said resident Anna Gaines. "But it's only going to help those who have the education."

Gaines said plans to use Tubman for economic development won't be of much help to the immediate neighborhood because so few residents have enough education to land good jobs.

According to the 2013 Census, only 30 percent of East Chattanooga residents age 18 and over have a high school diploma, and only 11 percent have a bachelor's degree of higher.

Lacie Stone, spokeswoman for Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, said city officials have no preconceived notions of what specific types of business or industry will be on the site.

"We will work with the community as well as the chamber to market the site for economic development opportunities that will help improve East Chattanooga and the city as a whole," she wrote in an email.

The city is hosting a meeting tonight to inform community members about plans for the Tubman tract. Gaines will be among those attending.

James McKissic, city director of Multicultural Affairs, said Berke will make good on his promise to employ East Chattanooga residents.

City officials have said demolition at the site will start this summer.

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6431.

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