Brainerd group begins vision process

Brainerd group begins vision process

October 24th, 2009 by Cliff Hightower in News

A group of city officials and Brainerd residents on Friday unveiled a neighborhood plan they hope could ride on the success of downtown development.

"If we can do it downtown, we can do it here," said Jon Coddington, director of urban design for The RiverCity Co., one of the Brainerd plan's creators.

Almost 100 people packed into a room at the University of Phoenix to hear the unveiling of the master plan for what is being called the Brainerd Road Corridor. The event was hosted by City Councilwoman Carol Berz.

Community plans include more sidewalks, green space and trees as well as a museum with a park near the Brainerd Mission Cemetery and a new library branch.

The community also saw plans for a botanical garden near the South Chickamauga Greenway and plots for community gardens and an orchard near Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport, along with a possible farmers market.

The plans also call for some parking spaces near Eastgate Town Center to be replaced with trees and green space. The whole area also would have sidewalks and tree-lined streets, the plans showed.

Mike Lane, an architect for Artech Design Group that helped design the plan, said there has been discussion about a significant piece of art in the park.

"We feel that it needs to be very large, very iconic," he said. "One of the ideas is that it could be a tower-type structure."

John Echerd, a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and one of the event's attendees, said one thing he did not hear or see was how the historic Brainerd Mission would be preserved and used as a visitor's attraction.

"If we miss an opportunity to zero in on the history of the Brainerd Mission, we're going to miss an opportunity for all to know about the history," he said.

The Brainerd Mission was a school established in 1816 by Christian missionaries to teach Cherokee children. It was shut down in 1838 after the expulsion of the Cherokees to Oklahoma.

Dr. Berz said the proposal for the Brainerd Road Corridor is still in the planning stages.

"This is not the end, it's a beginning," she said.

There will be chances for the community to give input on how the history of Brainerd can be incorporated, she said. Ideas include designing the new museum and library branch to match the old mission, she said.

Dr. Berz told audience members that some steps in the plan could be implemented almost immediately, such as enhancements to the South Chickamauga Greenway. Other steps, such as buying or getting donations of land in the area, would take time because members of the community must step in, she said.

It will take private and public money to help pay for the improvements, she said.

"What we're saying is, 'Here we are community, now we need you to buy in,'" she said.

PDF: D6 Master Redevelopment Plan

POSSIBLE IMPROVEMENTS

* A museum and park at the Brainerd Mission

* Community gardens and orchard near the airport

* A botanical garden near the South Chickamauga Greenway

* Taking out abandoned buildings and parking space to plant more trees and green space

Source: District 6 Summit