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Hamilton County Parks & Recreation, City of Chattanooga Wins 2018 Sustainable Transportation Award

3 / October / 2018

Chattanooga’s famed Tennessee Riverpark was recently recognized with the state’s 2018 Sustainable Transportation Award for its newly launched 3-mile extension. The award was presented to Hamilton County Parks and Recreation, City of Chattanooga, and Barge Design Solutions at the fourth annual Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Forum and Expo in September.

At the heart of Chattanooga’s revitalization efforts is the Tennessee Riverpark–the crown jewel of Chattanooga’s park system. The latest extension completed in August 2016 offers a unique linear and educational adventure through Chattanooga’s river port heritage amid active and vacant industrial facilities.

The Riverpark extension establishes a significant alternative transportation corridor through a previously inaccessible gauntlet of active industrial properties, three railroads, major utility features, an interstate, city streets, and brownfields, while promoting the cultural, historical, and environmental story of the community.

The greenway route traverses both active and brownfield industrial facilities covered by impervious asphalt, concrete, and building foundation remnants with minimal trees and vegetation. Rather than shying away from the area’s industrial origins, the final design utilized creative solutions that feature existing structures with strategic plantings to create distinctive spaces, highlighting the industrial history of the site by accentuating borrowed views of the industrial facilities juxtaposed against vistas of the surrounding mountains. The design transforms the most intimidating portions of the project covered with graffiti, railroad underpasses, broken concrete, and rusting steel structures into memorable destinations.

Pocket parks along the greenway corridor were designed as outdoor gallery spaces for public art that will further allude to the industrial heritage. The main trailhead for the project, Blue Goose Hollow, includes two large interactive gallery spaces for public art relating as focal points for a large grass amphitheater.

In addition to traditional interpretive and wayfinding signage, landscape architects developed a Tennessee Riverpark mobile app for the new section that provides interactive georeferenced maps, videos, and augmented reality features to enhance the Riverpark users' experience in navigating the park and understanding the history of the site.

Barge Design Solutions provided master planning services for the extension as well as construction engineering inspection (CEI) services and landscape architecture.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and Tennessee Clean Fuels presents the annual forum and expo. The event provides attendees with helpful tips and insights into sustainable transportation innovation and implementation. Speakers included representatives from the U.S. Federal Transit Administration, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Shared Use Mobility Center, and Bcycle.

(Pictured, left to right: Daniel Pallme, Assistant TDOT Chief of Environment and Planning; Matt Snyder, Engineering Manager for City of Chattanooga; John Brown, Barge Design Solutions; and Sheri Meghreblian, TDEC Commissioner)