This story was updated at 4 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 12.
A major renovation that will overhaul one of downtown Chattanooga's most historic areas is underway.
Work started Monday on the first phase of a $4.9 million project that will add trees, elevated sidewalks, public art and more to Patten Parkway.
The first phase will focus on the south side of the parkway and is expected to take about six months to finish, according to a news release from the city.
During that portion of the work, no vehicles will be able to travel east on Patten Parkway and parking will be closed on that side of the road.
Westbound traffic and parking will be maintained on the north side of Patten Parkway.
The Chattanooga Department of Transportation has reserved parking spaces in the parking lot across Lindsay Street from Patten Parkway for anyone visiting the businesses in the area. Spaces 1-10 in that parking lot are reserved for complimentary two-hour parking.
During the initial demolition and construction phase on the south side of Patten Parkway, the sidewalks will remain open and access to all businesses will remain unchanged.
When demolition and construction of the sidewalk begins, sections of the sidewalk will be temporarily inaccessible, but access to all businesses will be maintained throughout construction.
The site was once home to the first Coca-Cola Bottling facility, as well as the city's first farmers market and the old City Hall.
The redesign, done by WMWA Landscape Architects and Asa Engineering & Consulting, is part of the larger Miller Park District renovation and the final large-scale project in the district plan developed by the city over the past six years.
The renovation is intended to be more pedestrian friendly with wider sidewalks and dozens of new trees. It will still be open to vehicular traffic and will include 48 parking spaces, down from the current 70 spaces on the block.
"Building great spaces for residents and visitors alike has long been the key to making Chattanooga more vibrant, prosperous, and safe," Mayor Andy Berke said in a statement Monday. " This new design will celebrate the parkway's history as a market square and be better suited for festivals, concerts, and other events as envisioned in the Miller Park District plan."
The project is being supported by more than $2 million in private contributions raised by the downtown development group River City Co., which also raised $6 million to support most of the $10 million expense of redoing Miller Park a block away.
"This really completes this Miller Park District and can serve to bring [the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga] and downtown together," Kim White, executive director of River City Co., said when the plan was announced in April.