Innovation District Expansion Planning Begins

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) –  The Innovation District of Chattanooga has grown over the years but city leaders say this is just the beginning.

Mayor Andy Berke opened saying, “it’s about the people. Innovation is something that is not done by computers or robots, its done by people.”

Mayor Berke says the people who filled the room Monday night on the fifth floor of the Edney Building in downtown Chattanooga are essential to the discussion about the city’s future. Chattanooga’s Innovation District was born 2 years ago and Monday began a 5 month planning process that was kicked off by a meeting where business owners and community members were able to give their input on what they would like to see in their city.

Ken Hays, the President of the Enterprise Center, says, “The research shows that if we get the young wickedly smart entrepreneurs then great things will happen.”

Hays says that they are planning to develop real estate and different programs to grow the city’s economy and all of this will take place in the 140 acre Innovation District that is in the heart of Chattanooga.

Jared Nixon an entrepreneur who is originally from LA was so amazed by the work being done here that he made the scenic city his home.

Nixon says, “what kept me coming back was the ability that I saw in a small down to get stuff done. They said hey we are going to put this fiber obtic network and have the fastest internet in the world and they got it done. They said they would have an innovation district and theygot it done.”

Consultants from Philly, New York and Boston will spend the next 5 months planning out spaces for new businesses, programming to support budding entreprenuers and designing a strategy to make the innovation district the hub for the growth on Chattanooga’s economy.



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