Knoxville, Chattanooga place focus on waterfronts

12:11 AM, Jun 5, 2013   |    comments
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As Knoxville looks to rejuvenate its south waterfront, an expert in a city to the south says the communities share a common vision.

Ken Hays presided as president of the River City Company, downtown Chattanooga' economic development company, from 2000 to 2005. He said back in the 1980's, the riverfront in Chattanooga was mainly industrial. However, at the beginning of the next decade, private and public entities in the city started to work to bring commercial and residential properties to the area.

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"Planning starts ahead of time," he said.

Hays said the project that kick-started redevelopment on the Chattanooga riverfront was the Tennessee Aquarium. After it opened in 1992, more people became interested in what the riverfront had to offer. A children's museum and multiple housing developments soon followed.

"Once momentum happens, it happens," he said.

Hays credited a portion of the city's riverfront success to a company named Hargreaves Associates. That firm worked with the City of Knoxville in 2006 to come up with a vision plan for the South Waterfront. Both Chattanooga and Knoxville's plans emphasize open green spaces.

Hays said Tuesday's announcement in Knoxville would likely kick start a similar success on the city's south waterfront.

"The announcement you all had today was a huge piece of the puzzle of waterfront development.

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