The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors recently donated $10,000 in support of the area’s 40-year growth planning process, which involves 16 counties in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.

The planning process involves an array of organizations and businesses, and the goal is to develop a framework for managing future growth in the area’s economic, environmental, educational, residential and commercial sectors.

Cheryl Millsaps, vice president of finance and administration with the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce, said without funding from many different organizations, the project wouldn’t be possible.

“We live in a time of economic turmoil and budget-tightening for individuals, businesses and governments,” Millsaps said. “No one organization or entity has the resources to commit to a long-term project of this scope. This effort is being funded through the generosity of nonprofits and private businesses, as well as by the prudent investment of funding allocations from local governments.”

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The $10,000 in funding came from a Smart Growth Action Grant from the National Association of Realtors, which is a nationwide organization with more than 1 million members who work in the real estate industry.

According to the National Association of Realtors’ website, the healthier the community is, the more attractive it is to homebuyers.

“However, land use issues often require long-term efforts on behalf of advocates,” according to the website. “Smart Growth Action Grants are intended to help associations and members initiate and sustain an active role in bringing smart growth development principles to their community.”

Millsaps reiterated that the local Realtors association has an interest in the local economy and said she appreciates all the help-from funding to a connection with a network of contacts-from the organization.

“This is a massive undertaking and will require the participation of all individuals and civic groups within our regional footprint in order to formulate a truly representative vision of the region and the ways we can work together to achieve a better future than any of us can attain on our own,” Millsaps said.

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