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New Chattanooga Parks and Outdoors Plan for 2023

Big things are coming to the parks and outdoors department, find out what the blueprint looks like.

NOOGAtoday | Coolidge fountains

The plan will focus on key areas to create a better experience when interacting with outdoor spaces around the community.

Photo by @drewbeach_

Table of Contents

Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly + the Parks and Outdoors Department have released the 2023 Parks and Outdoors Plan (POP) — the first one in 25 years.

The plan will be guided by the vision of turning Chattanooga into a “city in a park,” where residents and tourists have access to green spaces + recreational facilities that are built and maintained with this intention.

POP was built on the five principles of access, equity, nature, place, and quality. Design Workshop consultants + the park’s team gave the city a grade of C+, with less than 20% of parks being up to date.

Note: The department will address key issues in a scale of short, medium + long-term plans.

Short term

  • Fix | Address maintenance across the parks system including water fountains, 19 park upgrades or redevelopment + identify workforce needs
  • Build | Seven neighborhood parks to close critical gaps, four facilities for recreational needs + build on existing redesign plans for parks like Montague
  • Connect | 16 miles of new greenway trails, fill trail gaps through citizen-led commission, lay the groundwork for new Missionary Ridge system + create access for 28 miles of blueways for a paddling trail
  • Preserve | Permanently protect 560+ acres of existing city land for wildlife, create an urban ecology system while restoring environments + becoming the first National Park City in the Americas
NOOGAtoday | Nolan Park plan

These plans showing the general features of a park system in Chattanooga were drawn by landscape architect John Nolen.

Illustration courtesy Cornell University Library

The blueprints used inspirations from past plans — Nolen Park Plan for Chattanooga (1911), the Riverfront Plan (1985), and the ReCreate 2008 Plan (1998). See the full plan + executive summary for more details on the medium and long-term initiatives.

The POP also came to fruition through public input where the department asked residents for their vision during surveys, interviews, focus groups + more.

Note: The time frame of the plan + its goals will be dependent on annual budgets determined by the city council and administration.

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