U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann has completed the appropriation of $3 million to help renovate portions of the Westside community, Chattanooga’s oldest public housing neighborhood.
Built in 1940, the Westside community is home to more than 1,500 households with a median annual income is less than $15,000. The area has a poverty rate of 87% and has experienced a 40% increase in domestic violence and a 65% increase in violent crime since the start of the pandemic.
Westside Evolves, a neighborhood planning initiative involving the Chattanooga Housing Authority, Chattanooga Design Studio, the city of Chattanooga, Westside residents and other stakeholders, has been working since 2020 on plans to provide one-for-one housing replacements.
Members of the planning team met with Fleischmann last winter to share the plans and ask for funding.
The funds will be used for the planning and renovation of the James A. Henry School and Shelia Jennings Park, both historical pieces of the community.
Once complete, the center will house 100 Head Start seats for 3- to 5-year-olds living in the area along with classrooms for training, a health clinic and other social, recreational and educational opportunities.
As the request for the federal appropriation was being developed, the Westside Evolves planning team was also developing requests for the city of Chattanooga and Hamilton County.
The CHA plans to begin working on the project immediately.
Source: Westside Evolves