Ooltewah/Collegedale is quaint setting for growth

City Commissioner Ethan White poses in front of the Imagination Station playground on Friday, March 30, 2018, in Collegedale, Tenn.

Collegedale was recently ranked the third-safest city in Tennessee by the National Council for Home Safety and Security. The ranking was based on FBI Uniform Crime Report data and the council's own research.

It's a mid-sized city with a small-town feel, says Ethan White, lifelong Collegedale resident and current city commissioner.

"We are aggressively being progressive," he says, listing several new restaurants and businesses planning to open soon, such as Chick-fil-A and Dos Bros Mexican Grill. "We're in that growing pains phase of being a big town to being a small- to mid-sized city."

Among Tennessee's 100 largest cities, Collegedale is second only to the Nashville suburb of Mount Juliet in its growth rate from 2010 to 2016.

As the city grows, officials are also ensuring it can handle the growth. Apison Pike, the major artery that runs through the city, has undergone a face lift in the last two years - going from just two lanes to four - and will continue to expand in upcoming years.