Nov 3 2012
11:25 am
By: R. Neal  shortURL

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We stopped in Chattanooga on our recent field trip to visit with a friend. We haven't been there in quite some time, and the changes are amazing. There's been a lot of talk here and elsewhere about Knoxville's "Chattanooga envy." Sorry, but Chattanooga is winning.

They have a better downtown, a better riverfront, better public transportation, a better newspaper, better diversity among top employers, a better chamber of commerce and better and more philanthropic public-private partnerships.

For example, they have a free electric shuttle that connects downtown to the North Shore arts and shopping district. They have public bicycles with racks all over town for pickup and drop off, and and the first hour is free. Their riverfront development is what Knoxville's should aspire to be. Their downtown is like Market Square, except it goes on for block after block after block and has nicer bars and restaurants at which you might actually want to dine.

Their neighborhood revitalization efforts are paying off, at least on the South Side where our friend lives. His neighborhood looks a little like Fort Sanders, except the houses are nice and well maintained and you'd actually want to live there. The arts community is thriving, jumpstarted by training and mortgage assistance grant programs that helped artists relocate to downtown neighborhoods and open galleries.

The latest program provides mortgage and moving expense grants for IT professionals, and cash prizes for entrepreneurs who launch businesses that take advantage of Chattanooga's city-wide gigabit internet.

We stayed at the Chattanooga Choo Choo in one of the converted rail cars. It was quaint, but it is overpriced and the property is showing its age. The gardens and grounds were very nice. The standard rooms looked clean and serviceable, and there are lots of them. The terminal is ornate and grand, but it is past its prime. There's a nice bar and a dodgy restaurant, which we skipped. (Instead, we went to the Easy Bistro, mainly because they had patio dining and we could take the puppy. The food and service were excellent. Don't know about the interior space, because we didn't go inside.)

We had always wanted to stay at the Chattanooga Choo Choo, and we're glad we were able to before it suffers any further decline. I would only recommend it for nostalgia/train buffs. As for value, we paid only $20 more for a plush, five-star stay at the Loews in downtown Atlanta (not counting tips and bar tabs), complete with a doggie welcome gift bag with nice food and water dishes, treats and more.

Our friend took us to the Bluegrass Grill for breakfast. It's about a block from his house and just around the corner from the Choo Choo. Highly recommended if you're in the area, but get there early because people were lined up out the door by 8AM.

R. Neal's picture

P.S. If you're in the area,


P.S. If you're in the area, our friend Michael is performing at The Camp House in Chattanooga tonight. An IT consultant by day, he's an accomplished picker and singer and he can spin a pretty good yarn. He told us (hope this doesn't jinx him and it's OK to mention it) that he's organizing a radio show that will be a Southern version of Prairie Home Companion.

More about the River City Sessions...

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Yes, we were also amazed at the changes in Chattanooga when we first began shopping colleges for our older child, some five years back.

As you know, the UT-Chattanooga campus is truly "urban," in contrast to UT-Knoxville. Fabulous dining and entertainment destinations in all price ranges are just blocks away, as they are just off the Knox campus. The difference, though, is that Chattanooga better facilitates students' and working adults' actually frequenting all these businesses.

From bike lanes to public shuttles to its attractive and acclaimed pedestrian bridge (pictured above), Chattanooga is extremely pedestrian-friendly.

During our daughter's first year at UTC, three of the four girls in her dorm apartment lacked any car on campus. However, they had no problem whatsoever going and doing. Even the city's downtown grocer, Buellers, was minutes away and offered both a broad selection of staples and surprisingly reasonable prices.

I hope you ventured across the pictured pedestrain bridge, just barely down the riverfront from the Tennessee Freshwater and Saltwater Aquariums, to cross over to Frazier Avenue? It's an area very much like Knoxville's Old City, featuring ecclectic clothing stores, gift shops, mini museums, and eateries. There's even a doggie bakery on the block!

The more family-oriented attraction adjacent to Frazier Avenue and on that side of the bridge, though, is Coolidge Park. It's a sprawling city park right on the riverfront and offers ample space for picnicing, biking, and leisurely walks. There's a 100 year-old carousel there enclosed in a pavillion and a huge "splashpad" featuring a large ring of ornate real-and-imaginary animal statuary from which kids are sprayed. The park also has multiple outdoor and enclosed meeting facilities, making it a popular spot for events from family reunions to bridal showers.

My husband's Knoxville employer also has a Chattnooga office, which the company relocated in recent years in downtown's warehouse district. The new office is now in a buidling that reminds me very much of the drop-dead gorgeous Bradbury Hotel building in Los Angeles (scroll down to see the pic of filigree ironwork in the central atrium). When he's periodically asked to work down there for a few days, he meets up with our daughter, walking distance from his office, and they enjoy some pedistrian-friendly excursion evenings, most recently to downtown's IMAX theater.

The fact that Hamilton County Schools pays so much better than Knox does was the clincher. Our daughter simply isn't leaving Chattanooga, come her May graduation. She's already employed part-time in their school system this term, I may have neglected to report, and feels very much at home there.

She's flown the coop, but the good news is that I've found this fab weekend getaway for years to come.

R. Neal's picture

Attended one semester at UTC

Attended one semester at UTC 40 years ago. Chattanooga today isn't even recognizable compared to back then.

cwg's picture


Hamilton County Schools' pay is not very high. Almost everyone I know that teaches in the area works for Georgia schools. They pay much, much better.

Min's picture

It all depends on your comparison.

Hamilton County pays well for Tennessee. However, Georgia has historically paid nearly $10,000 more, on average, in annual teacher salary than Tennessee.

Rachel's picture

It is in the sense that the

It is in the sense that the campus is better integrated with downtown.

For some reason, second creek valley seems to isolate UT from downtown Knoxville.

CathyMcCaughan's picture

Chattanooga has better plant

Chattanooga has better plant nurseries. Knoxville has better groceries and bakeries. Chattanooga has the best waterfront.

cwg's picture


Knoxville has nothing close to Chattanooga's Rembrandt's, which does French pastries and all kinds of artisanal breads. (Unless there's some place in the suburbs I don't know about.)

dude's picture

Not sure about the grocery

Not sure about the grocery stuff either. If we had a Greenlife like the one in Chattanooga, I'd shop there everyday. And it's actually close to downtown, imagine that.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Hamilton County Schools' pay is not very high. Almost everyone I know that teaches in the area works for Georgia schools. They pay much, much better.

Thanks for the tip, Carrie. We'll research it further.

My daughter and I had pulled pay schedules for around 12 or 15 East TN school systems and found Hamilton's rates to be higher than Knox's.

As to GA payrates, we looked at just those in the Dahlonega area (which I think were lower than Hamilton County).

The university should host a few more recruitment events prior to May, though. We'll have all the info at our fingertips by then!

cwg's picture

Not surprised that Dahlonega

Not surprised that Dahlonega is lower. But Catoosa and Walker - just over the state line - are definitely higher. (Unless something has changed in the past couple of years since I last talked with my teacher friends about it.) I know they hate commuting from Chattanooga out to Ringgold, but they it's worth it.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Knoxville has nothing close to Chattanooga's Rembrandt's (bakery)

Oooo...another good catch, Carrie.

I forgot to mention in my earlier post that visitors shouldn't miss Chattanooga's Bluff View Art District, where Rembrandt's is located. It's also walking distance from downtown and the UTC campus.

And the best downtown restaurant is Hennen's, on Chestnut Street. Al fresco seating available. Pricey (by our single-income standard), but well worth it.

cwg's picture

I would also strongly

I would also strongly recommend Daniel Lindley's trio of restaurants on the Southside, not too far from the Choo-Choo -- St. John's, The Meeting Place, and Alleia. All are excellent.

redmondkr's picture

Don't forget to visit the

Don't forget to visit the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum on the north side. During the warm months they offer six six-mile round trip steam powered rides per day across Chickamauga Creek and through the 986-foot-long Missionary Ridge Tunnel that was opened in 1858 and has needed only track and cosmetic portal repair since then.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I need reminding of the rule as to the employer's responsibility to withhold state income tax (as in an employer in northern Georgia) from wages of an employee residing in a state that lacks one (as in an employee living in the Chattanooga area of Tennessee)?

Used to know, growing old???

Rachel's picture

Don't know about witholding,

Don't know about witholding, do know you have to pay Georgia income tax on income earned in Georgia whether or not you live there. So probably yes.

Average Guy's picture


Could you imagine Chattanooga considering a decision of keeping their minor league baseball team or building a jail?

It's one thing to shoot yourself in the foot, quite another to aim.

It has improved, but it still seems Chattanooga has been able to do what Knoxville has been talking about in the same amount of time.

Rachel's picture

Could you imagine Chattanooga

Could you imagine Chattanooga considering a decision of keeping their minor league baseball team or building a jail?

Your memory is faulty. It wasn't a choice like that. Baseball came first, then the jail.

Although I kind of agree that letting the Smokies get away was too bad.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Then there was that failed PFKAUK...


Tamara Shepherd's picture


The Chattanooga Area Rapid Transit Authority (CARTA) has a "Mocs Express" route lying exclusively within the boundaries of the UTC campus which anyone, student or non-student, may ride for free.

CARTA also operates an electric shuttle running a route lying exclusively within the boundaries of downtown which anyone, student or non-student, can ride for free.

CARTA's other routes extend way further into the 'burbs than any of our local KAT routes do and UTC students only are able to ride all those routes for free, too, on showing their photo student IDs.

But really, every amenity students need is within walking distance, anyway.

Ever visited San Francisco? It's just four square miles, you know? I never visited there with any car and always got around just dandy.

Except for their lack of light rail, Chattanooga's downtown/UTC area is like that.

Bike it, hoof it, ride it for free.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Our daughter has had a car on campus these last three years.

She generally comes home to Knoxville every other weekend, but she tells us that often, when she rolls back into Chattanooga, she will park her car nearby her dorm and not move it until she's ready to come home again, two weeks later.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Campus Safety Feature

Oh, just remembered something else: To better ensure students' abilty to safely trek across campus at night, UTC offers a "blue light" on every campus street corner.

It's a lighted button, on a box, on a pole. Push it in an emergency and a campus police officer aboard a golf cart/Cushman cart-thingy is there in a minute to transport the student where s/he needs to go.

Just one more feature that makes the campus truly pedestrian-friendly (and it gives us out-of-town parents some peace of mind, too).

Stan G's picture

2012 Best Mountain Towns

Picked up the November issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors today. Chattanooga was voted the best outdoor city by readers, Richmond, VA is the runner up and Knoxville is listed along with Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham and Greenville, SC as close contenders.

Read a tagline on Knoxblab the other day which sums it up nicely. Basically it read: Knoxville, a good place to live, but not a place that I would choose to visit.

Lots to enjoy if you live here, lots to see if you're visiting, but not much reason to think of it as a destination. What KSTC did and what I expect Visit Knoxville will continue to do is to take advantage of UT to organize events that bring people to Knoxville. What KSTC did not do was show an interest in small groups and tourists other, I suspect, than to mail information.

Stop by a visitors center in Asheville, Nashville, or Chattanooga and you'll helpful locals who enjoy assisting tourists and who show some pride in their community. When the visitors center was located on Volunteer Landing, it was staffed by locals who demonstrated pride in the area and who were eager to help. Since the visitors center moved to Gay Street, the help desk has been staffed by what have appeared to be minimum wage employees who have had some basic computer skills. When I stopped by a few weeks ago, it appeared the help desk is gone. Visitors can pick up brochures, but that appeared to be the extent of any tourist information. It's about what you find when you enter Shoney's. Also brought to mind South Knoxville Bubba, "Move along folks, there's nothing to see here."

Stan G's picture

Thanks for the photo of the

Thanks for the photo of the Market Street Bridge, Randy. Below is a photo of the Nashville pedestrian bridge. A view looking toward downtown Nashville and a photo of what appears to be a new outdoor venue on the opposite side of the Cumberland River.

Both cities took advantage of existing downtown bridges and converted them to pedestrian bridges. Both are used as venues for special events. And both were converted at far less cost than the estimated cost of the proposed Knoxville pedestrian bridge.




JIm's picture


Nothing against Rembrandt's (a great place for dessert and coffee!), but if you're gonna talk bakeries... Niedlov's Bakery owned by John and Angela Sweet on the Southside (just a block from the Blugrass Grill) is an amazing place. I would challenge you to find a better bakery for old-world style breads anywhere in the country!

bizgrrl's picture

I believe our friend in

I believe our friend in Chattanooga mentioned Niedlov's. We walked around the neighborhood and the aroma from Niedlov's was heavenly.

cwg's picture

Two things

A) That's the Walnut Street Bridge, not the Market Street Bridge. Cars go on the Market Street Bridge.

B) I am a big fan of Niedlov's too! Should have mentioned them. But they don't do fancy pastries like Rembrandt's, which is something I have yet to find anywhere in this city. (And again, if it's out there and I just don't know about it, please let me know.)

redmondkr's picture

I have two Flickr contacts

I have two Flickr contacts who take me on regular 'visits' to Chattanooga, Mark Owens, who is a fine street photographer, and Jeremy Clifton, who spends a fair amount of time hanging around the Tennessee Valley Railroad.

Take a look at Mark's street scene captured recently on Broad Street.

And here is my all time favorite from Jeremy

Stan G's picture

Thanks for the correction

Thanks for the correction cwg. I drew a blank and didn't drill down far enough on Google Maps to see the Walnut Street Bridge. It does highlight, however, that both the Chattanooga and Nashville pedestrian bridges are located parallel to newer well-traveled vehicular bridges that no doubt are more responsible for development than the pedestrian bridges.

cwg's picture

I know nothing about

I know nothing about Nashville's bridge, but the Walnut Street Bridge is the oldest bridge across the river in Chattanooga. It was shut down as unsafe when I was a kid in the 80s, and then converted in the 90s. But Knoxville doesn't have an extant, unusable bridge across the river to downtown.

Up Goose Creek's picture


I'll admit my view of Chattannooga is biased by a first impression of a smoggy industrial city from when I dated a guy from Chatt 40 years ago.

But even now I prefer Knoxville and here's why. I think of Chattanooga as being very stratified because of its heavy industrial past - there are the very very rich and a lot of poor and very poor. Knoxville had more wholesaling and merchants - more of a middle class and a middle class culture.

So of course the very rich have a lot of respources to donate to the city. But to use an agricultural analogy - is this a sprinkling of fertilizer on the surface to make the city bloom or have they really dug down and enhanced the bedrock to create a healthy economy that benefits everyone?

I'd be happy to hear someone say my my bias is BS.

cwg's picture

Your bias is BS. Complete

Your bias is BS. Complete nonsense.

Somebody's picture

Chattanooga envy

I think Chattanooga is a delightful city. I just have no need to look to them for some kind of measure of our own successes or failures.

Rachel's picture

I think Chattanooga is a

I think Chattanooga is a delightful city. I just have no need to look to them for some kind of measure of our own successes or failures.

THANK YOU. I get really, really tired of Chattanooga envy. I'd rather put my energy into talking up the good things about Knoxville and working to make it better than into sighing for how Chattanooga is "better."

fischbobber's picture

The compare and contrast

The compare and contrast between Chattanooga and Knoxville is indeed interesting. The primary difference that I see is the difference between how old and new money views wealth and the role of the wealthy in society. Knoxville does not have the "old money" base that Chattanooga does and as a consequence we see a lot of pet projects that don't necessarily tie in together very well.

For lack of better terminology our best politicians build bridges between our strengths. Our greenway system would be a prime example. Chattanooga has a much more high profile greenway around a vibrant downtown as opposed to our somewhat piecemeal system. But when you look at our total miles and differences in terrain and the amount of the county that's served, one could argue that ours is a superior greenway system. We've just always been a government town waiting on grants and unwilling to honestly admit that we depend on the largesse of the federal and state government to get things done. We don't have the base of wealthy people willing to step up with the vision and funding (beyond U.T. athletics) to make these things happen.

I agree with Goose as far as the social and political structure of Chattanooga, but I also think there is an expanding middle class there presently while I think ours is shrinking.

I like both towns though and think that it's pretty cool that Chattanooga, Asheville, and the Tri-Cities are all within 100 miles from here. I'm partial to the whole big little towns concept.

cwg's picture

There are three different

There are three different greenways in Chattanooga. Only one is by the river - and it will eventually stretch 22 miles, most of which is not in downtown. Just so you know.

Rachel's picture

According to the COK website,

According to the COK website, the City of Knoxville currently has over 65 miles of greenway.

Just so you know.

cwg's picture

And most of those miles are

And most of those miles are used for mountain biking, not by your average citizen out for a stroll. Chattanooga has done a better job of integrating the greenways into everyday life. Also, none of them end up in a Lowe's parking lot.

Rachel's picture

Ok, damn, you win. I bow to

Ok, damn, you win. I bow to your superior knowledge and experience. Chattanooga is much, much better than Knoxville in every single possible way. I mean, you can't even find decent CHEESE in Knoxville, fergawdsake.

Has anybody ever told you how irritating it is to have someone move to town and then proceed to lecture the natives on how much better the place they came from is?

BTW, those 65+ miles you claim are mostly mountain bike trails? Not so.

cwg's picture

I didn't say - and have NEVER

I didn't say - and have NEVER said - Chattanooga is better than Knoxville on all fronts. Both cities have their pluses and minuses. And you can get halfway decent cheese in both places. What Chattanooga does have in spades over Knoxville is people who don't go off on one whenever something slightly negative about the city is pointed out.

Rachel's picture

What Chattanooga does have in

What Chattanooga does have in spades over Knoxville is people who don't go off on one whenever something slightly negative about the city is pointed out.

Do tell. So you've done some kind of survey of Knoxville niceness versus Chattanooga niceness, have you? I'd say the small sample of me versus you is pretty even on the bitchiness scale. (And folks, I'm truly sorry to be so bitchy - this comes from a history of the "why can't we be as good as Chattanooga" thing. I get sick of it.)

And cari, honestly, based on this thread and past discussions elsewhere you do come off as having a "Chattanooga is superior" attitude (along with the "journalists can't be questioned" attitude).

(BTW, you're welcome for the correction on Knoxville greenways versus mountain bike trails.)

P.S. I LIKE Chattanooga. It's come a heck of a long way since I used to spend a lot of time down there in the late 80s - and dread it. I just don't think trying to figure out whether Knoxville or Chattanooga is "better" or "winning" is very useful for either city.

cwg's picture

I've lived all over the South

I've lived all over the South (and in Connecticut). Nowhere have I lived somewhere with as many people with huge chips on their shoulder about the reputation of their city as Knoxville. And I've had this discussion with a lot of other people who agree with me. As I have said, over and over, both Chattanooga and Knoxville have their pluses and minuses. Chattanooga has better fine dining. Knoxville has a better music scene. Chattanooga has a better visual art scene. Knoxville has all the great cultural resources of UT. Both cities have more than one idiot on county commission. I'm not stating anything controversial here. I'm not saying one place is better than the other. But whenever I refuse to say that Knoxville IS better than anywhere else in the world, ever, I'm accused of being a hater. Whatever.

Rachel's picture

But whenever I refuse to say

But whenever I refuse to say that Knoxville IS better than anywhere else in the world, ever, I'm accused of being a hater.

I didn't ask you to say Knoxville was better than anywhere else in the world. Nor did I call you a hater.


My sentiments exactly.

Tamara, I understand what R. Neal said. I just think it's unproductive for Knoxvillians to compare Knoxville to Chattanooga or Asheville or anyplace else rather than focusing on making Knoxville the best Knoxville we can be.

fischbobber's picture


I understand that. But when you look at our system and what it would take to tie it into the Blount County system (Including the Maryville /Alcoa Greenways) and into Townsend, as well as Loudon County connectors (I know, Tim won't advance the greenway system, still) the nature and scope of tying the greenways together are similar. Chattanooga just has the will to aggressively pursue these sorts of projects, while we wait for signs from above to make them happen.

If we were to roll up our sleeves and get it done we could have well over 100 miles of connected greenway through the Knox/Blount/Loudon/Monroe County area. Most of the work is already done. Chattanooga just finishes projects better than we do.

Up Goose Creek's picture

Urban wilderness

I just got back from enjoying the fall colors at the river bluff wilderness. Still at their prime up near the top. That is something unique to Knoxville.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Chattanooga has done a better job of integrating the greenways into everyday life. Also, none of them end up in a Lowe's parking lot.

Well, I've only visited Chattanooga (lots), but never iived there, and I have to agree with Cari concerning the above.

I was reading through these posts thinking to myself "but our greenways don't GO anywhere."

This one out my way is nothing more than a county sidewalk used by kids living in a single subdivision (Broadacres) to get to and from our middle school. It does't provide pedestrian access to our elementary school, our high school, our library, or any area restaurants or businesses of any kind.

Sometmes I'll see adult residents of this same Broadacres subdivision out walking--for exercise, not to get anywhere--but that's about it.

It certainly can't be said that the greenway in my community has made it more "pedestrian-friendly" for most residents, nor has it boosted our neighborhood economy in any way.

The foot traffic, bike traffic, wheelchair traffic and "destinations" in my community are all along Clinton Highway, not Emory Road--and this will be all the more true after the rerouting of Emory Road is completed, leaving this older stretch of Emory almost exclusively residential.

It would have been much more sensible to have placed the greenway in my community along Clinton Highway, where people are literally dying trying to traverse their neighborhood without a car.

Rachel's picture

Tamara - the county has FAR

Tamara - the county has FAR fewer miles of greenway than the city. I agree that the city needs to link more of theirs up, although there's steady progress on that front.

But I don't think you'll see much progress on county greenways while the current Mayor is in office. I hope I'm wrong. I'd love to see the proposed Blount-Knox greenway take off, for example.

fischbobber's picture

But they do

I was reading through these posts thinking to myself "but our greenways don't GO anywhere."

The most impressive feat of the Rogero administration to me so far is the signage from Cedar Bluff to downtown and the ease with which one can get past Ijams from there. (From Powell you've got the choice of going to Cedar Bluff or Broadway/Central Ave. to get into town. I just don't see our county greenway system moving forward under Mayor Burchette. I think that it is a shortsighted shame that it's not happening, but I don't see the county going anywhere.) The east/west greenway system from Cedar Bluff to downtown is nearly complete. Bicycle lanes are in place from downtown east and north. Greenway to center city is easily accessed. Downtown south to Ijams is bike ready and friendly. We need a few strategic right-of-ways and some connectors built, but beyond that we are ahead of Chattanooga. What we haven't had that Chattanooga enjoys is continuity in leadership. Greenway work essentially shut down in the city under Haslam. Now its shut down in the county under Burchette. It's hard to water the garden when every other mayor cuts of the spigot.

Little by little, piece by piece we're putting these greenways together. Hopefully I'll see it happen in my lifetime, but as a thirty year user of the greenway system, my honest opinion is that I'll die hoping some day a forward looking politician will put the pieces together.

Should that happen, what Knoxville will offer that no other place I know of can offer, is a spot where Boy Scouts can earn a cycling merit badge via riding on greenways and cycling lanes, without the inherent danger of heavy traffic.

The greenway that ends up at the theatre near Cedar Bluff is planned to extend down Ten Mile Creek to Northshore. I think that one reason Knoxiousvillians tend to come off with attitude is the folks that show up from other places that don't know what is going on to begin with, telling us how things ought to be done. The "Lowes" reference was factually wrong, smartass and uncalled for. The theatre allows free parking and access to the greenway and bike route to downtown, Westtown, Ijams and the new south Knoxville bike trail.

Stan G's picture

CWG, as I recall, the

CWG, as I recall, the Nashville pedestrian bridge like the Chattanooga bridge was to be demolished when the new vehicular bridge was built and Nashville followed Chattanooga's model by converting it to a pedestrian bridge as an integral part of the riverfront park.

Like Up Goose Creek, one of the first things I heard about Chattanooga was that it was a dirty, smog enveloped city with a minority white collar workforce. You were either blue collar and worked in the factories or you owned the factories. Obviously, that has changed and the defunct factory sites provided the land that Chattanooga has developed into riverfront parks. Up Goose Creek's vision of Chattanooga is clearly antiquated.

As for Chattanooga envy, Dave Hill clearly stated that the proposed pedestrian bridge was incorporated into the South Knoxville Development Plan because it would result in development and cited Chattanooga as a model.

Andy Axel's picture

Nashville followed

Nashville followed Chattanooga's model by converting it to a pedestrian bridge as an integral part of the riverfront park.

I don't recall the Shelby St. bridge being condemned for all traffic, just for vehicular traffic. The Korean Veteran's Bridge did supplant the need to have the Shelby St. bridge for cars, although it tore a rather substantial hole through some old infrastructure between the riverfront and 4th Ave. S, including the demolition of 328 Performance Hall and the Thermal Transfer Corp incinerator.

But as far as Nashville's "riverfront park," I don't think it was that as much as a means to walk from the parking structures in the old Black Bottom area on the downtown side of the bridge over to Adelphia / LP Field, which was pretty horribly under-built from a parking perspective. (Steiner Liff maintains the old eyesore PSC scrap metal recycling facility on the LP Field side of the bridge, which is eating up acres of space, not to mention the visual blight.) If there's a unified plan to service the riverfront, it has been more LP Field centric than not.

Most all downtown development is driven towards the Music City Center project, which is probably into a billion dollars shortly.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I just don't think trying to figure out whether Knoxville or Chattanooga is "better" or "winning" is very useful for either city.

Actually, it was our host who said Chattanooga is "winning."

He appeared to be citing these criteria:

They have a better downtown, a better riverfront, better public transportation, a better newspaper, better diversity among top employers, a better chamber of commerce and better and more philanthropic public-private partnerships.

WRT these criteria, I then agreed with him.

I really think Cari's comments were little more than an "amen" to first our host's, then my own positive perceptions of Chattanooga by these measures.

cwg's picture

I honestly think the KNS is

I honestly think the KNS is better. The TFP has fallen far, far from what it once was. (Disclosure: I have been employed by both papers.)

cwg's picture

Until the next round of

Until the next round of budget cuts ...

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Tamara, I understand what R. Neal said. I just think it's unproductive for Knoxvillians to compare Knoxville to Chattanooga or Asheville or anyplace else rather than focusing on making Knoxville the best Knoxville we can be.

Sure, Rachel.

And realistically, my own situation is that the mister and I have chosen to build our home in Knox County on property that's been in the family for four generations, we're therefore going to be buried right here in our backyard, so if ever I hope to enjoy on any daily basis some of these better ideas Chattanooga's developed, I'd better be focused on seeing them borrowed or adapted to Knoxville's benefit. I ain't goin' nowhere!

Stan G's picture

Rachel, as others have

Rachel, as others have mentioned, when you mention Nashville, Chattanooga or Asheville, Knoxvillians often become defensive. You've been involved in the K2K discussions, in Nine Counties, One Vision, in PlanET, an MPC commissioner, what in your opinion is the best that Knoxville can be? In particular, in relation to tourism.

If you read Joe Sullivan's column in this you Metro Pulse, you read that the Tombras Group, an advertising/PR firm that's been in Knoxville for decades is planning a 12-week brand development process. One would think they would have some idea how to brand Knoxville. As I recall they have been involved in what Kim Bumpas refers to as failed attempts at sloganeering. I'm wondering who they intend to invite to the focus groups who might know more than those who live here and who have been involved in tourism.

As I mentioned previously and as others have mentioned, Knoxville is simply not a destination city. Knoxville apparently excels at being a host city with tourism being generated by events not attractions.

My cynical mind wonders if one had been standing beside the Torchbearer last Saturday and asked for directions to the McClung Museum, how many people would have known.

gonzone's picture

How about:Knoxville: we're

How about:

Knoxville: we're close to Asheville, Nashville, and Chattanooga!

Maybe: Knoxville: Home of Cas Walker!

Or just change the name to Pilot City.

bizgrrl's picture

Ok, the one thing I could not

Ok, the one thing I could not find easily in downtown Chattanooga were stores like Bliss, Bliss Home, and Mast General Store. Did I miss something? If so, where are the shops?

cwg's picture

Go across the bridge to the

Go across the bridge to the North Shore. That's where the majority of the retail is - along Frazier and Cherokee, and down Manufacturer's Road. Also, on the south end of downtown is Warehouse Row, which used to be a high-end outlet strip, then went bust, and has been newly revamped as a high-end retail destination - some great stores in there.

bizgrrl's picture

Thanks. Yes, I am familiar

Thanks. Yes, I am familiar with the North Shore. Was hoping for something closer to downtown proper. Warehouse Row appears to be quite limited at this time.

cwg's picture

The North Shore is just

The North Shore is just downtown north, like the Southside is downtown south. Chattanoogans consider the whole area to basically be "downtown." Like, if you make plans to meet for dinner "downtown," you could end up anywhere from Main Street to Frazier Ave.

Mykhailo's picture

Last Bastion of Inept Machine

Last Bastion of Inept Machine Politics in America

The certainty that can only come from a person who has never lived in Richmond, Virginia.

Mykhailo's picture

"Truism" is the word you

"Truism" is the word you would have used if you were from Richmond.

Up Goose Creek's picture


I am eager for the day Sevier ave resembles the north Chattanooga commercial. Bubba, Bizgrrl, and even I remember when it was thriving neighborhood commercial.

bizgrrl's picture

My thoughts exactly. Looking

My thoughts exactly. Looking across the river in downtown Chattanooga to the north side, I did think of SoKno.

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