published Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Waterfront work to start after Head of the Hooch


by Cliff Hightower
The Tennessee Aquarium pierces the skyline at the Chattanooga waterfront where spectators gather for the 2012 Head of the Hooch regatta.
The Tennessee Aquarium pierces the skyline at the Chattanooga waterfront where spectators gather for the 2012 Head of the Hooch regatta.
Photo by Allison Love.

The hard edge of the 21st Century Waterfront should start seeing repairs just after the Head of the Hooch ends, said Parks and Recreation Director Larry Zehnder.

Zehnder gave a briefing to the Chattanooga City Council on Tuesday about the waterfront repairs. The project is expected to cost about $8 million to repair all the cracking that has happened because of erosion.

He said there would also be some improvements to the park. But that comes with a price tag.

"How far can we go?" Zehnder asked. "That depends upon the extent of the money."

He said once the repairs are complete to the hard edge he hoped there would be about $1 million to $2 million to "play around" with.

The council will vote on a resolution authorizing $888,166 to be spent to HDR Engineering Inc. to start designs on the waterfront park.

Zehnder said the construction phase would be in the fall after festival season is over, largely due to permitting requirements and bidding for the construction.

But he told the council some of the improvements he hopes to see at the 21st Century Waterfront include a 1,600-square-foot building with a ticket booth for downtown attractions and restrooms. Also, he would like to see access for boaters during the Head of the Hooch and also some way to slow down traffic to make the area more pedestrian friendly.

In other news, the council voted 8-1 to extend the lease for the Eastgate Library branch. Councilwoman Deborah Scott voted against the lease. Earlier that day, she said she objected to the city paying $100,000 for a lease when it owned a building where a new library will be placed.

She asked why it would take three to four years to renovate the new library, which will be in an old post office building next to the mall.

Director of General Services Danny Thornton said it was because of money being allocated year-to-year.

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