Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, November 18, 2022

Council adopts Westside transformation plan

The Chattanooga City Council has adopted the Westside Evolves Plan, a 10-year blueprint for change in the city’s oldest public housing community.

The city developed the plan over a two-year period, with more than 82% of the area’s 4,500 residents participating in the process.

City Council also approved an interlocal agreement that will allow the city to provide $1 million from its affordable housing fund to support the renovation of the historic James A. Henry school.

The school will serve as a neighborhood hub and include a 100-seat Head Start facility. The funding is in addition to the $2 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds the city already invested in the renovation.

“Chattanooga’s Westside is home to over five generations of our residents,” Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly says. “Westside Evolves will ensure this critical part of our city is revitalized in a way that will support the growth and prosperity of future generations, all without displacing the existing community.”

Westside Evolves is a collaborative neighborhood planning initiative among Chattanooga Design Studio, Chattanooga Housing Authority and the city of Chattanooga.

In addition to the funding the city is providing, Rep. Chuck Fleishmann secured a $3 million federal appropriation for the project and Hamilton County invested an additional $2 million in American Rescue Plan funds.

The money will be used to leverage additional dollars to fully fund the project, which the city estimates will cost $1 billion over the next 10 years.

With a one-for-one replacement of housing for the 629 families living in the Westside, the plan includes replacement, workforce and market rate housing during each phase of development.

The plan encompasses the area known as the Westside District, which is bordered by Martin Luther King Boulevard, Riverfront Parkway, Main Street and I-27.

While residents of College Hill Courts might be relocated during future construction, all lease compliant residents will have the right to return to a new unit in the Westside neighborhood.

CHA residents will continue to pay 30% of their adjusted income toward rent at any redeveloped property.

Each phase of the project will seek to employ local residents in construction jobs to support the development. Through an agreement with the AGC of East Tennessee, Westside students attending the Howard School can obtain professional training through the AGC’s construction career academy. As they graduate, the students will be able to secure jobs to work on the construction projects within the Westside.

Next steps

Now that Chattanooga’s city council has adopted the Westside Evolves Plan, CHA will move forward with plans to begin renovation of the James A. Henry school.

The Head Start program currently located in the city’s Youth and Family Development building will eventually move to the renovated school, which will include space for 100 early learnings seats – 40 more than the YFD building now holds.

In addition to serving as a Head Start facility, the school will also function as a hub for community gatherings.

CHA is also preparing an application for the next funding cycle for a HUD Choice Neighborhoods grant, which would provide up to $150 million. The team expects to submit the application for consideration in early 2023.

Over the coming months, the team will begin to gather additional funding for the project from various entities.

Source: City of Chattanooga