Working With The M.L. King Neighborhood
In 1995, an anonymous donor made a gift of property in the Martin Luther King historic district, estimated at more than $3 million, to the University of Chattanooga Foundation. The land was to be used to promote campus growth for UTC and to spark community revival for the Martin Luther King district. Recognizing that both parties could benefit from the other's involvement, a partnership was formed between the University and the Community. The project provides an opportunity for UTC to demonstrate its commitment to being a part of the area and to being responsive to community needs and concerns. Rather than operating in isolation from the city, the University seeks to fulfill its role as a catalyst for growth.
The Concept for Change
In the summer of 1998, UTC hosted a series of community workshops encouraging participation and debate. These collaborative planning efforts established a framework on elements of land use, timing, image, and connection. Derived from those meetings were two prevailing guidelines, embraced by both the University and Community representatives:
· The University should be a complete microcosm of the community with a wide variety of activities, uses, and people with a focus on higher education and learning.
· Like the city, the University should establish its unique identity.
Incorporating the specific needs of the University&emdash;general student and specialty housing, classroom space, recreational/sports facilities, and service facilities&emdash;with the desires of the Community&emdash;access to services, business development, and residential growth&emdash;consensus was reached regarding the conceptual design with the understanding that modifications may be necessary due to the uniqueness of each partnership, infrastructure needs, or various financial arrangements.
Bringing People To The Neighborhood . . .
The UTC campus will become the nexus between the historic M.L. King district and downtown Chattanooga, linking the district to the Tennessee Riverwalk and the renaissance surrounding the Tennessee Aquarium with pedestrian corridors.
This will become reality through a two-sided approach. First, the district will become the site of several major University-funded or -initiated construction projects that could encourage other commercial developments. The mix of residential, recreational, and commercial facilities will bring people to the neighborhood&emdash;mingling in the streets, dining in restaurants and coffee shops, shopping, and exercising and enjoying the athletics facilities.
These projects may include:
· A single student housing facility for use by UTC students
· An activity center
· Married student, graduate student,or faculty apartments
· A multiple-use sports/recreation complex offering track and soccer facilities
· Through partnership with the Hamilton County Schools, an elementary school
· A community outreach center
. . . and Providing Services to the Community
The second aspect of the University and Community partnership will be through the Community Outreach Partnership Center, a federally funded facility operated by the University and offering substanitive services to the community. Every University department will be encouraged to participate in service delivery from the center.
Among the activities offered by the Center will be:
· Community revitalization efforts through organized clean-up projects, a community-based arts project, and development of training in grassroots organizing.
· Establishment of Individual Development Accounts to encourage savings by residents, including matching savings on a 2:1 basis.
· Sports programs to deter youth from drug use, including having UTC athletes serve as mentors.
· A "Saturday University" for adult education to teach basic science and math.
Opportunities for other University divisions to become involved will develop. For example, the College of Business Administration may offer business and financial counseling to the commercial enterprises in the district, and the School of Nursing could offer wellness programs.
Community partners include the Chattanooga Police Department, the Private Industry Council, the Urban League, the Chatanooga Housing Authority, and many community-based service organizations.
Through this investment in physical and human capital, the University and the Community can become true partners, their futures intertwined and their successes shared and multiplied.
Artist's Conception of the new Student Center
Artist's Conception of Douglas Street
Artist's Conception of Eighth Street
Artist's Conception of the expanded Sports Facilities
Overall land use
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