Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, May 26, 2023

Briefs: Executive director exiting green | spaces

Green | spaces executive director Michael Walton is transitioning to an advisory role at the nonprofit to build a presence in Chattanooga for Emerald Operating Partners, a global energy transition advisory firm.

While at the helm of green | spaces, Walton oversaw growth in staff from one in 2014 to 29 today, increased the diversity of the organization’s personnel and board and quintupled the annual budget.

Walton facilitated the drafting of the Chattanooga Integrated Community Sustainability Plan, which the city integrated into its Climate Action Plan. He also designed, developed and launched Empower Chattanooga (green | spaces’ education and outreach program), as well as launched green | light, a green-business certification program, and Green Leader, the sustainability professional certificate Chattanooga State offers.

Under Walton’s leadership, green | spaces received the Tennessee Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award in 2016 and 2020, the Footprint Foundation’s Footprint Award in 2018 and the Chamber of Commerce’s Community Collaborator Award in 2019.

Women’s pro soccer coming to Chattanooga

International real estate developer Robert Martino is bringing women’s professional soccer to Chattanooga under the new USL Super League. Chattanooga is one of only about 10 markets across the U.S. that comprise the new league.

The league is set to kick off in August 2024; Chattanooga will begin play in 2025. The USL Super League intends to launch as a first division league following U.S. Soccer sanctioning.

The USL Super League will play on an international calendar of fall to summer and provide a path from youth to professional. The youth-to-pro conduit will create development and advancement opportunities for players, coaches and referees.

The USL Super League will have 10-12 teams in its inaugural 2024 season.

Chattanooga passes vacation rental reform

Chattanooga City Council has approved administration-sponsored legislation that will reform and streamline short-term vacation rental rules.

The new law will protect private property rights and safeguard the integrity of Chattanooga’s neighborhoods by limiting new short-term vacation rentals (STVRs) in residential areas, while allowing them in any commercial district where it’s already legal to build a hotel.

Operators of homestays, or STVRs in which the homeowner lives full-time in the dwelling, will be allowed in every commercial zone that allows hotels, as well as any residential zone in the existing short-term vacation rental overlay, which encompasses much of downtown.

All currently permitted STVRs will be grandfathered in, those permits may be renewed annually and property permits may be transferred between owners.

City launches home repair assistance program

The city of Chattanooga is enhancing its ability to help residents make critical home repairs with the relaunch and expansion of an initiative that had paused during the pandemic.

The Home Assistance Repair Program, which is part of Mayor Tim Kelly’s One Chattanooga Relief and Recovery Plan, will provide financial assistance to residents and will be administered by the city’s Neighborhood Services Division.

Plans are in place for HARP to assist 90 or more low-to-moderate income families with essential home repairs over the course of two years.

The city is accepting applications now. Residents interested in the program can obtain an application at chattanooga.gov/community-development/neighborhood-services/department-programs.

The city managed a similar program for more than 14 years before stopping due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With a name change and a $425,000 increase in funding through American Rescue Plan Act funds, HARP will provide greater purchasing power for each project, giving more opportunities to complete moderate home repairs, including interior and exterior painting, porch and step repairs, siding and deck repairs and other similar projects.

To be eligible for HARP, applicants must reside within the Chattanooga city limits and be the primary homeowner with a low to moderate income.

The city will accept applications until June 13.