Chattanooga’s Westside was built in 1940, making it the city’s oldest public housing neighborhood that is now home to over 2,000 residents.
Westside Community Evolves is a collaborative neighborhood planning initiative led by the Chattanooga Housing Authority (CHA), the Chattanooga Design Studio, the city, and Westside residents + stakeholders to revitalize the community.
Last winter, members of the project met with Congressman Chuck Fleischmann for consideration of funding, and as of yesterday an appropriation of $3 million from state funds will go towards kicking off the project — along with $2 million put forth from Hamilton County.
What projects will the funds go toward?
The planning + renovation of the James A. Henry School + Sheila Jennings Park, two historical landmarks of the community, which will include:
- 100 Head Start seats for children ages 3-5 in the community (an increase from the previous 60 seats)
- Classrooms for training
- A health clinic
- Other social, recreational + educational opportunities
The plan lays out an ambitious long-term road map that takes into consideration all underutilized properties within the community by connecting streets, expanding open spaces, and adding housing.
The Chattanooga City Council will soon be considering legislation to accept the Westside Community Evolves plan along with a request for $2 million in ARP funding and another $1 million from the city’s affordable housing funds.
These funds will go toward preserving all existing affordable housing units and expanding housing options, along with additional projects that will serve the community well into the future.
“Making these funds available will provide a foundation for the future of Chattanooga’s oldest public housing community. The programs and educational efforts they will be able to offer in the renovated school will provide a pathway to a sustainable future for many of the families living there.” — Rep. Fleischmann