Civic and business leaders from across the region will be in Chattanooga Thursday to discuss the future of the area.

The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce will host a Regional Growth Planning meeting in the Ballroom of the Chattanoogan Hotel Thursday from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Similar to the Chattanooga Renaissance plan of the 1980s that guided the city into the 21st Century, the Regional Growth Plan will provide the roadmap for not only Chattanooga, but the surrounding area as well.

The Regional Growth Plan will encompass Bledsoe, Bradley, Hamilton, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Polk, Rhea and Sequatchie counties in Tennessee; Catoosa, Dade, Murray, Walker and Whitfield counties in Georgia; and Dekalb and Jackson counties in Alabama.

In addition to learning more about the effort to engage people across the region in charting a course for the future, attendees will have a front row seat as three expert teams present their qualifications for facilitating the Regional Growth Planning Process. Public feedback on the expert teams will help determine which of them will coordinate the initiative.

The three finalist teams are:

  • Wallace Roberts & Todd; Gresham Smith & Partners; PlaceMatters; Ann Coulter; Neathawk Dubuque& Packett; Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness; Center for Neighborhood Technology; Leslee T. Alexander Consulting; Constructive Technologies Group; and RERC Strategic Advisors.
  • McBride Dale Clarion; Clarion Associates; Fregonese Associates; Kimley-Horn and Associates; Brown Pearman Russell; BAE Urban Economics; Opticos Design, Inc; Ann Coulter; PlaceMatters; The Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies; and Neathawk Dubuque & Packett.
  • Renaissance Planning Group; Cambridge Systematics; ICF International; Barge, Waggoner, Sumner & Cannon; Ann Coulter; Neathawk Dubuque & Packett; Robert Grow Consulting; and The Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies.

All of the finalist teams include local firms, and the companies that comprise the teams reflect the depth and breadth of experience necessary to complete a truly comprehensive regional planning process, including expertise in community engagement, many different types of planning, financial analysis, data collection, and the establishment of community metrics.

Following the public meeting on Nov. 17, the stakeholder group which has been working to launch the regional growth planning process will weigh public feedback and other requirements set forth in the selection process to determine which of the finalist teams will coordinate the effort with the aim of starting the process during the first part of 2012.

The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce has launched a website the latest information about the initiative,