Chattanooga Enters 10-Month Initiative to Assess Blighted Properties

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — Chattanooga is one of six cities across the US to have been selected to participate in the Putting Assets to Work Incubator.

The program is an initiative to assess underused properties and retool them for the economic benefit of the community.

Examples of potential assets include blighted buildings and vacant parking lots.

“Those are often times, right now — they’re a draw on resources. You have to spend money to maintain those, to provide security, to clean them up,
and those actually could be opportunities. So, that vacant parking lot could become an affordable housing development, or it could become a mixed-income
housing development, where you’re putting in some affordable units but you’re also putting in some market rate units, and those market rate units would
generate a benefit that comes back to the taxpayer, that then can be used to accomplish other objectives that the mayor and the council identify,” said Former Congressman Ben McAdams of Utah.

The first stage of the initiative is a ten month fact-finding period, during which underused sites will be mapped and potential uses will be planned.

“We have access to a whole host of technical resources and advisors and experts that previously the city wouldn’t have had access to if it were not for
this incubator, which is where we’re really looking to lean on the expertise of former Congressman McAdams,” said Joda Thongnopnua, Mayor Kelly’s Chief of Staff.

While serving as Mayor of Salt Lake County, former Congressman Ben McAdams performed a similar accounting of underused assets, and found their total
value to be roughly ten billion dollars.

McAdams says systemic approaches to asset valuation are uncommon in the United States.

“What we hope to tackle in this incubator is to take those one-off examples and scale them and systematize them, so it’s not just a one-off that you do
infrequently, but this becomes the way that we actively and professionally manage the assets that are within the control of the city,” said Former Congressman McAdams.

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