College Hill Courts to be 're-imagined' by group with eye to the future

The planning process is being done by residents and community members. Friday, September 25th 2020, 10:10 AM EDT by WRCB Staff

College Hill Courts, a long-time fixture of westside Chattanooga will be re-imagined in a new planning process for the area's future. Dating back to the 1940s, College Hill Courts added the Boynton Terrace Apartments, Gateway Towers, and Dogwood Manor and is home to over 2,000 Chattanoogans. The study area is bordered by U.S. 27, Riverfront Parkway, MLK Boulevard and Main Street. The plan with help the community "community create actionable plans and identify strategies to preserve subsidized residential units while pinpointing opportunity for market rate housing." Chattanooga Housing Authority (CHA) Executive Director Betsy McCright said, “We recognize that the CHA’s role is to preserve and expand affordable housing opportunities in our community. The planning process should identify a strategy that supports a one-for-one replacement of subsidized housing units in this district. This particular place in our city holds significant potential opportunity for residents who require access to jobs, education, and services.” Chattanooga Design Studio brought in EJP Consulting Group to facilitate the nine-month planning process, which will imagine the future of the district. EJP has extensive national experience in public housing revitalization planning and development. The consultant team was chosen by a selection committee formed from members of a larger Community Advisory Group. The planning process for the future of the area is slated to begin soon, according to a news release. College Hill Courts resident Sharon Dragg said, “The EJP team was my top choice because they said they want to help us gather our community’s input and vision. We will be going door-to-door with surveys, and scheduling safe community workshops. We want to see what people know and hear their history in the Westside community.” Charlie Newton, who has been educating youth through the Splash Youth Arts program for close to a decade in the Westside has been engaged as an artist-in-residence to capture the planning process. He notes, “I would not be involved this project if I didn’t think we were going to make history.” Eric Myers, Executive Director of the Chattanooga Design Studio noted, “We are excited to help prepare a long-term neighborhood vision for the Westside. The community faces historic challenges, many stemming from the origin of its development. We’re excited to work with residents and stakeholders to assist in organizing a process that will lift voices and create clear and measurable housing goals that the neighborhood, CHA and other partners can implement.”

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