Midtown Council looks to breathe new life into Brainerd - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Midtown Council looks to breathe new life into Brainerd

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CHATTANOOGA, TN. (WRCB) -- The Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce is looking to re-vamp parts of the Brainerd community. The 'Midtown Campaign' was launched by residents and business leaders to gain a renewed focus on what Brainerd has to offer.

The Midtown Council says it's excited for this new campaign. Members say Brainerd is "a lost resource center," and with a little work, it can serve as a thriving gateway to downtown Chattanooga.

"Historically it was a center of commerce. Then the mall opened and all the other areas grew and got all the buzz, if you will. And we feel like we kind of lost our place in line," says Chuck Lawson, a resident and president of the Midtown Council.

Lawson is spreading the word about transforming the Brainerd corridor.

"It's centrally located. Great neighborhoods. Great value," he says.

The Midtown Campaign will focus on breathing new life into Brainerd Road, between the Missionary Ridge Tunnel and the airport.

"We'd like to see more pedestrian friendly sidewalks, from the tunnel down to, say, Spring Creek Road. More green spaces, more beautiful signage," says Lawson.

He says they are looking to use the name 'Midtown' as springboard for a refreshed identity.

"We're actually talking about changing the name of the Eastgate Town Center to perhaps, 'The Midtown Market,' or something more consistent with the theme," says Lawson.

"I think we've got as much potential as North Shore," says Wyn Gannon.

Gannon runs Gannon Art Center on Brainerd Road. It has been in his family for 42 years. He says a renewed focus on bringing business to Brainerd makes sense.

"Definitely on the bandwagon. But we've been pushing for a long time. It's been a fight that we've had for 42 years," says Gannon.

Lawson says he feels confident the chamber will throw full support into the project, as it has done for other parts of the city.

"We want to build on their successes, follow their models and in their foot steps, and take an under performing area and make it a super performing area," says Lawson.

Lawson says the campaign is in the very early stages and they are looking at a four-year timeline.

He says the council is in the process of applying for various grants.

He also says right now it is crucial to get community feedback. The Midtown Council's next meeting is March 14, at noon, at the Out of the Blue Cafe on Brainerd Road.

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