Former site of Harriet Tubman Homes rezoned

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — A manufacturer can now build on the land where the Harriet Tubman Homes used to stand in East Chattanooga.

The area in question is the giant field located in the 1900 block of Roanoke Avenue. Many may remember the lines of public housing units known as the Harriet Tubman homes that sat there until 2014.

That’s when the city bought the land with the promise to bring in jobs for the community. Now, the city is taking the next step to make that promise a reality.

“So many people pass through this community, but nobody’s investing the dollars. We got to have people investing the dollars in this community,” District 8 councilman Anthony Byrd said.

Tuesday the Chattanooga City Council voted 8-1 to rezone vacant land off Roanoke Avenue to a Manufacturing Zone rather than the previous zoning for residential.

The city wants to attract manufacturing plants in effort to inject new job opportunities in the struggling community.

But the councilman Anthony Byrd says the council won’t let just anyone build there.

“No chicken plant. No loud manufacturing companies. Nothing to displace or interrupt anyone in this community,” Byrd said. “Before a company buys this property, the city council has to okay it, and before the city council okays it, the community has to okay it.”

And there will be conditions.

“We want them to set up some type of networking or schooling so that whatever business they have here, the kids in this community will have opportunity to go through an apprenticeship program, so they can be the first ones that get hired,” Byrd said.

The lot has been vacant for almost five years. Councilman Byrd hopes this new plant will be the anchor to revitalizing the Avondale community.

“I think it will just give the community a sense of pride, a sense of ownership, a sense of hope, and at the end of the day just give an outlet for the kids,” Byrd said.

The council has had numerous inquires into the land already, however, nothing is set in stone just yet. Councilman Byrd says the city’s hoping the nearby railroad track will be an additional attraction for a manufacturer

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News

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