Q: What is supposed to be in the Riverpark?
A: Jogging trails, biking trails, horse trails, visitor's center, aquarium, hotel, marina, 1700s trading post, 1800s farm, 1900s Chattanooga, townhouses, fishing piers, country inn and English garden, TVA museum, lake, restaurants, ferry boats, greenhouse, industrial exhibits, offices, archaeological digs, shops, ballfields, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, Cherokee village, historic bridges, new golf course, musicians, theater, amphitheater, Civil War museum, regional history museum , Amnicola marsh, local sports hall of fame, miniature railroad, aquatic garden, trolley . . . .
Q: What comes first?
A: In the next five years, two areas will receive the most attention: Ross's Landing, with its aquarium, museum, hotel, offices, shops, restaurants and housing; and the Riverway trails and several parks, particularly on the south bank between downtown and the dam.
Q: Why are these areas first?
A: Ross's Landing was chosen because planners believe a development there would be profitable, and both areas were chosen because much land is already in the hands of government and a few private corporations.
Q: Why does Chattanooga need a Riverpark?
A: Its planners say the Riverpark will create jobs, attract tourists, provide recreation and housing for residents, increase the national recognition of Chattanooga, improve knowledge of the city's history and renew the city's pride in itself.
Q: How much is all this going to cost?
A: The Riverpark planners say it will cost several million dollars in public money at first, but they expect private companies to pick up most of the tab. They predict $750 million in development along the river within 20 years, with three-fourths of that coming from private companies.
Q: Isn't the state chipping in some money for this?
A: Chattanooga Venture, a citizens group funded by the Lyndhurst Foundation, asked Gov. Lamar Alexander to include in his budget $15 for five Chattanooga projects. He included $9 million, and Hamilton county's state legislators say they'll have a hard time persuading the Legislature to give that much. The $15 million included $7.5 million for the Riverpark aquarium, which has been forecast to cost $15 million itself; $1.1 million for the Riverway trails in the Riverpark; $500,000 for the fishing park in the Riverpark; $5.5 million to renovate the Tivoli Theatre, and $500,000 to build a Bessie Smith Preservation Hall downtown.
Q: Whose idea was this?
A: The planning was supervised by the Moccasin Bend Task Force, a city-county advisory panel that has served for three years. It has held several public hearings, the largest attended by about 1,000 people. Task force members are Rick Montague, president of the Lyndhurst Foundation; businessman George Mahoney; developer Jack McDonald; and Sally Robinson, executive director of the Arts and Education Council. Former members are businessmen Sam Parry and Bob Mayville. They are assisted by staff from city and county government.
Q: Who actually drew up the plans?
A: The leading consultant was the firm of Carr, Lynch Associates of Cambridge, Mass. Its environmental designers and architects offered themes, descriptions and preliminary designs for the Riverfront. A subcontractor, Economics Research Associated, provided cost estimates and market studies.
Q: How much did these consultants cost?
A: The task force budgets for 1982-86 total $605,129. Of that $364,559 went to Carr, Lynch and subcontractors. The money came from several sources: the city and county, the county hotel tax, the Lyndhurst Foundation, smaller local foundations and earned interest.
Q: Who's in charge of the Riverpark now?
A: The task force has almost finished its work and soon will be dissolved. The plans will be implemented by a private, non-profit corporation, the Riverfront Corp., which will be created in February.
Q: I thought the corporation was going to be called Greater Chattanooga Partnership?
A: That was the name when plans were announced, but everyone agreed that was a mouthful. The next choice was Riverbend Corp., but a company in Knoxville already had that one. Riverpark Corp. was rejected as suggesting nothing but a park. Now the group seems to have agreed on Riverfront Corp.
Q: Who runs the Riverfront Corp.?
A: It will have 12 volunteer directors: the mayor of Chattanooga (Gene Roberts); the Hamilton County executive (Dalton Roberts); one appointee each by the City Commission (Rick Montague) and county Commission (not yet chosen); a state legislator (Sen. Ward Crutchfield); the chairman of the Chattanooga Venture citizens group (Mai Bell Hurley); one representative each from the black community (not chosen), the Chattanooga Area Labor Council (Bill Evans) and the Partners for Economic Progress business group (Joseph Decosimo); and three business leaders: Coca-Cola bottler John T. "Jack" Lupton, photo executive Olan Mills II and H. Carey Hanlin, president of Provident Live & Accident Insurance Co.
Q: What will this corporation do?
A: It will raise money, buy property, choose developers, negotiate with them, hire consultants, enforce architectural limits and manage certain parts of the Riverpark.
Q: Will its meetings be open to the public?
Q: Will local bankers and developers do the Riverpark work?
A: No one has said. National firms with riverfront experience are expected to bid on the work. Local financial institutions are now being solicited for commitments.
Q: What will happen to residents and industries by the river now?
A: The task force has said it would not want anyone to be forced to participate. The corporation has not prepared guidelines on this subject. These decisions would be made by city and county government. Property owners have been approached, however, about allowing the Riverway trails to pass over their land. Industries are being asked to help design and pay for exhibits along the trail.
Q: What other cities have similar projects?
A: Many cities have developed waterfronts or are planning such work. Some are Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, Jacksonville, San Antonio and Detroit. The Riverpark planners chose for their model St. Paul, Minn. where Lowertown Redevelopment Corp. turned a $10 million foundation grant into $200 million in development with another $500 million on the drawing boards.
Q: Where can I find out more about the Riverpark?
A: Articles on the Riverpark will continue every day this week in The Chattanooga Times, and copies of the Tennessee Riverpark Master Plan can be seen at the Riverfront Corp. office 23B Patten Parkway, downtown. The Riverfront Corp. telephone number is 757-5412.
Q: I have an opinion. Who wants to hear it?
A: You may write to the Riverfront Corp. at suite 23B, Patten Parkway, Chattanooga, Tenn., 37402; to city, county and state elected officials, whose addresses appear every Thursday in this newspaper's Extra Section; or to the letters column of The Chattanooga Times, 117 E. 10th St., Chattanooga, Tenn., 37402.
The Lupton Co. is located downtown also at 702 Tallan Building; phone 615/ 756-0611.