Chattanooga Offers Healthy Mix of Trails, Parks
Livability is an important factor for industries locating in the SEIDA region. Just ask the people at Alstom.
As part of its $300 million expansion plans in Chattanooga, the company that manufactures turbines for nuclear power plants has requested that the city extend an existing Tennessee Riverwalk to the factory's site. Alstom leaders hope that the greenway will not only encourage employees to exercise, but also help land the company a top LEED (Leadership of Energy and Environmental Design) status.
“We are aiming for the highest environmental standards – a Gold LEED certification,” says Guy Chardon, Alstom senior vice president for thermal products.
A 1-mile Riverwalk extension began in January and is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2011. The new section along the Tennessee River downtown will be the largest since a 6-mile tract opened in 2000.
Mountain Biking Bliss
Meanwhile, a 2,800-acre nature park next to the new Volkswagen plant helped convince company leaders to locate in Chattanooga. Enterprise South Nature Park includes hiking trails, as well as new mountain biking trails, which Volkswagen contributed $10,000 to help build. The park will soon feature nearly 10 miles of mountain bike trails.
“For the overall mountain biking and hiking experience, Chattanooga is excellent – it’s a large community surrounded by rural areas,” says Erik Rippon with the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association. “There are numerous trails for cycling, hiking or walking.”
70 Miles and Counting
For mountain bikers, Rippon says more than 70 miles of trails have either been constructed or are being planned within 10 miles of Chattanooga.
“The Chattanooga region is lucky to have openness and different contours of land,” he says. “There are also future plans to begin extending trails into residential areas.”