BLVD Project holds forum on future development

Nonprofit members hope to see further growth on two-mile corridor in years to come

ROSSVILLE, Georgia (WDEF) — The BLVD Project is focused on the growth of Rossville Boulevard, hoping to one day see it become a popular hub for local neighbors as well as an attractive site for small business owners.

On Wednesday night, members of the nonprofit, Chattanooga City Council and Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency all spoke on what could lie ahead.

“We have amazing makers and creators in this city and everyone needs a home and place for that stuff to go,” said BLVD Project Co-Director Jazmine LeBlanc. “We would love to connect with whoever we can and just say, hey, why not Rossville Boulevard? We think we would be a great spot for what you’re doing.”

Advisory Board Member Melonie Lusk says the organized farmers’ markets that began this summer are just one example of what the boulevard could become with further development.

However, many said during the forum that before more businesses and community spots can be developed, the two-mile street, itself, needs to be physically assessed.

“Safety, I think, is first and foremost when we look at the traffic patterns along Rossville Boulevard and the lack of crosswalks, the lack of railroad crossing notifications,” Lusk said. “It’s really about looking at the infrastructure of the actual Rossville Blvd. corridor.”

The nonprofit says the boulevard sees an average of 25,000 cars a day.

However, LeBlanc says it’s more than just a “speedway to get from Georgia to Chattanooga.”

With the proper rezoning and business plan, she and her team believe their home will only flourish.

“What can we do to make this a stopping place, a destination place?” LeBlanc said. “Between now and this time next year, we would love to see this be more of a destination where, even if it’s just one or two new places open, people can come, stop, shop and spend time with their family and friends.”

Some further suggestions at the forum to revitalize the boulevard included pedestrian work and gathering spaces, living spaces and even a food truck park.

Co-Director Heather Herweyer says the committee’s next course of action could be to form a local business association.

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