A long-awaited plan for the Gateway to Moccasin Bend Park is finally taking shape with a tree-lined and art-studded twist - a bicycle and pedestrian path to Stringer's Ridge.
The path connects the park to Stringer's Ridge and a reinvented U.S. 27/Manufacturers Road interchange.
"We want it to be as beautiful as possible," said Karen Hundt, a planner and the director of the Chattanooga Design Center in the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency.
No cost estimates for the project are available as yet, and funding sources have not been identified.
Accomplishing the goals will require a great deal of streetscaping to spruce up Manufacturers and Hamm roads, which presently skirt the back doors of some of Chattanooga's mill and chemical industries.
Hundt said planners realized months ago that focusing separately on Moccasin Bend's gateway and a different tract of park land on Stringer's Ridge - recently acquired by the Trust for Public Land - would have led to missed opportunities.
So since August, planners and designers have met a number of times with officials and members of the public for input.
IF YOU GO
What: A formal presentation of the Gateway to Moccasin Bend Park
When: All-day open house Monday, with formal presentation and question-and-answer session from 5:30-7 p.m.
Where: Tennessee Room of the University Center at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
On Monday they will show off their work in an all-day open house at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Shelley Andrews, executive director of the Friends of Moccasin Bend National Park, said the plan is a showcase of creativity.
"The connectivity that brings these parks all together for the public is wonderful," Andrews said. "Their plans enhance the vibrant history and stories that the gateway to Moccasin Bend has.
"They are going to suggest the interchange at U.S. 27 and Manufacturers Road be developed into a park area that celebrates our industrial heritage, and they are talking about developing a 'wet woods' area to commemorate the Trail of Tears and the route of the [Civil War] Cracker Line."
The Trail of Tears is the forced removal of Cherokee Indians from the Southeast to Oklahoma in the 1830s. The Cracker Line is a supply route to Chattanooga that was commissioned by U.S. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.
The plan, created by landscape architecture group Jones & Jones, includes seven elements Hundt says Monday's meeting will help prioritize.
• Streetscaping Hamm and Manufacturers roads with hundreds of trees and stormwater runoff-friendly gardening.
• A Riverwalk extension to run from Renaissance Park to a new interpretive center at Moccasin Bend's Hamm Road entrance.
• A new greenscape built around the right of way around the Tennessee Department of Transportation's proposed new interchange ramps to Manufacturers Road from U.S. 27.
• A new interpretive trail over Stringer's Ridge's western shoulder to Moccasin Bend Road. For now, planners are calling it Brown's Gap.
• The restoration of a small creek between Manufacturers Road and the Tennessee River.
• The development of what planners call a "wet woods" area with a boardwalk path through a section of the property in the gateway.
• Bicycle and pedestrian connections from Manufacturers Road to Stringer's Ridge to help bicyclists and walkers avoid the always busy Cherokee Boulevard and its narrow tunnel through the ridge.