Holiday party near Patten Towers meant to bridge 'digital divide'

Holiday party near Patten Towers meant to bridge 'digital divide'

December 18th, 2017 by Tim Omarzu in Local Regional News

Residents of Patten Towers line up for the holiday block party that closed a section of E. 11th Street Friday afternoon.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Gallery: Holiday party near Patten Towers meant to bridge 'digital divide'

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S'mores were toasted over flaming logs, jambalaya was served and a DJ played Christmas classics in the middle of East 11th Street Friday afternoon at a holiday block party meant to help bridge the neighborhood's "digital divide."

That's a description for the gulf between the tech-savvy professionals who work at the Edney Innovation Center, an office tower at East 11th and Market streets at the heart of Chattanooga's new Innovation District, and the residents of Patten Towers, a residential hotel that's home to low-income disabled and elderly residents.

"Since we've been here, we've sought different ways to engage with Patten Towers," said Andrew Rodgers, the technologist-in-residence at the Enterprise Center, a nonprofit organization housed in the Edney, which had its grand opening in 2016.

Rodgers manned a booth Friday inside the Edney's lobby at which partygoers could pose for free holiday photos wearing holiday gear such as a Santa cap or reindeer antlers. Also in the lobby was a make-your-own ornament booth and a Christmas tree raffle.

"It's great, man, it's great," Patten Towers resident Gilbert Tremble said of the block party.

Danny Wilson, who's lived for about four months at Patten Towers, stood near the metal fire pit in the middle of the street, which was closed to motor vehicle traffic, where partygoers toasted s'mores, a campfire treat of marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate bars.

"Very nice," Wilson said. "Just enjoying the day."

The tab for the block party was split 50-50 between PK Management, the California-based company that owns Patten Towers, and the Enterprise Center, said Mary Stargel, who's the community manager at Society of Work, a shared office space that takes up two floors of the Edney.

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at or or on Twitter @meetforbusiness or 423-757-6651.