Members of the Southside/Cowart Place Neighborhood Association have partnered with business leaders to create a new “pocket park” near Battle Academy.
“There may end up being a really nice relationship between the new Enzo’s Market—it’s only half a block away” Craig Kronenberg, who designed the park and is a partner of H+K Architects, said. “I think you’ll find a fair amount of picnicking [there].”
Kronenberg and Heidi Hefferlin, the other partner in H+K Architects, both live in the Southside area, and along with other members of the neighborhood association, had been looking for an area that could be a park.
But they realized that unless they found a piece of property that the public already owned, it would be too expensive.
The Hamilton County Board of Education owns that property, and neighborhood association members worked with school leaders to get the idea going.
“Everybody said, 'This can work,' but nobody was willing to pay for it,” Hefferlin said.
So, starting at last year’s Mainx24, community members started raising money.
They raised $3,300 through a pancake breakfast at the 24-hour block party, and leaders with the Lyndhurst Foundation gave $10,000, she said.
“It just gained steam from there,” she said.
Then, they started enlisting donations and support from nearby businesses.
AREA203 Digital is funding a stairway in the park, graphic design and branding; Set in Stone leaders and the Chattanooga Wood Academy are working on bench/seat and pavilion construction; the Jaeger Group is doing the landscape design; and Mountaintop Landscaping and Take Root members are taking care of trees.
The Chattanooga Engineering Group has also contributed.
Tavis Salazar, chief creative officer for AREA203, said that the collaborative effort of the project reflects the nature of the Southside neighborhood.
“Power in numbers—it definitely reflects in this community,” he said.
The park will provide shade, outdoor classroom area and eventually a chess pavilion, officials said.
The school board will now maintain the grounds, and Battle Academy students will be able to use the space.
Some of the inspiration for the park came from similar green spaces in Europe.
“We are trying to utilize all the talent we have in our neighborhood and improve our neighborhood,” Hefferlin said. “We should have parks all over the city.”