Group wants to be a part of the future of the Harriet Tubman site

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – “We feel like this group just kind of came in and elected themselves to be spokesperson for our residence,” Former Avondale Neighborhood Association President James Moreland said. “We don’t have any personal issues with anybody. We are somewhat disappointed that a group would come into our neighborhood and not have enough respect to say hey let’s talk.”

James Moreland and Ken Smith spoke at the Chattanooga City Council meeting Tuesday night over the Harriet Tubman site.

The two represent the ECI.

It’s a group of around 9 neighborhood associations, including Avondale.

“We work together over the many years to try to support each other, work with each other since we’re connected by geography. So we feel like we should all work together,” Avondale Neighborhood Association President Ken Smith said.

The Tubman site is in the Avondale neighborhood.

The city owns the site and officials want to bring in a company to provide jobs.

“Any company that comes in, it’s a must that they sit and talk to these people that live in this community, because it’s in their backyard. Mr. Moreland and Ken Smith have championed for that community for years even before I was councilman so I think it’s just pure respect to sit down and talk with them,” District 8 Councilman Anthony Byrd said.

Earlier this month, a group of organizations held a town hall meeting to talk about what a community benefits agreement is.

A Community Benefits Agreement is a contract between a developer and community groups that seeks to provide benefits for the community.

A member of one of those organizations also spoke at the council meeting.

“From our stand point this isn’t a power thing this isn’t in anyway trying to be disrespectful to ECI and what they’ve done, but we didn’t know they had ever really been involved into community benefits,” Accountability for Taxpayer Money Chattanooga Founder Helen Burns Sharp said. “I hope there’s common ground I hope that you will encourage us to work together. I think we’re all after the same thing. We want things to improve in east Chattanooga.”

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Local News

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