Leaders Announce TIF Plan for Westside

Onewestside Map 002

(Courtesy: One Westside)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)- Leaders unveiled what they want the Chattanooga Westside’s future to look like.

The westside along Riverfront Parkway was once home to industry such as Combustion Engineering, Alstom, and General Electric (GE)

The city along with private partners had announced previous plans for its revitalization, but now Hamilton County is also taking part in the project.

Jermaine Freeman, a senior economic development advisor for Chattanooga, said, “My theory as an economic developer is that you can’t have too much economic development.”

Westside Evolves and The Bend are coming together in the One Westside Plan.

This proposal officials hope would transform the area into the next essential part of downtown Chattanooga.

Both sides of the proposal have been announced in recent months.

Westside Evolves is a plan led by the Chattanooga Housing Authority to renovate public housing where the Gateway Towers and College Hill Courts sit now.

The Bend is a 120 acre plan to take the former Alstom plant site and create a retail, entertainment, and residential district. 

Both of these developments will be partially funded through a tax increment financing district, or a TIF.

A TIF is a tool where governments can designate tax revenue collected from new development to directly fund improvements in that specific area.

You may recall that the South Broad Development, including the new Chattanooga Lookouts stadium, is also being funded by a T-I-F district.

The President and CEO of the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce, Charles Wood, said, “This is a relatively underutilized tool in Chattanooga. We have five existing financing districts. That compares to the city of Knoxville and Knox County which have 30 and Nashville which has 15.”

TIF responsibilities are split between the county and city in the following manner:

● Of the County’s portion of new property tax revenue, the County will withhold its normal portions for essential County services and public schools;

● Of the County’s remaining new property tax revenue, 53 percent of the remaining revenue will provide funding for downtown education opportunities, with the remaining funding being allocated to the TIF;

● Of the City’s portion of new property tax revenue, the City will withhold its normal portions for essential City services;

● Of the City’s remaining new property tax revenue, 53 percent of the remaining revenue will provide funding for the following:

○ Westside Evolves Revitalization Plan

○ New partnership with the County for downtown education opportunities

○ New fire station

○ Remaining funding to be allocated to sidewalks, roads, stormwater, light poles, and other public infrastructure improvements.

Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly said, “It’s important as we do more TIF’s, we haven’t done a lot relative to a lot of our peers around the state that it’s not a question whether this gets developed but how?”

The TIF District will have a long road to approval, but it could the beginning of a new Westside.

Hamilton County Mayor Weston Wamp said, “The Westside improving supports this vision, supports the future of downtown. Us being able to invest in and meaningfully train the workforce of the future, certainly I think is going to be a tailwind in the economic developments of the site.”

There is no timeline for when this plan could be approved and construction can begin.

You can take a look at further details of the plan at onewestside.info.

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News