Harriet Tubman development leaves community divided - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Harriet Tubman development leaves community divided

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It was a spirited two hours of discussion at the Avondale recd center Thursday night.

Community leaders and residents voiced their opinions on what's to become of a now vacant housing project in east Chattanooga.

Upset over the closure of the Harriet Tubman development and asking for one thing, low income housing

"All we want it the people to have a home, what's wrong with that?" said Cynthia Stanley Cash.

City Councilman Moses Freeman said there was a reason Harriet Tubman had been shut down; it was costing too much.

"We struggled for years to sustain Harriet Tubman," said Freeman. "No public body had the money to care for it."

An affordable housing ordinance was presented by the people to bring in more low income housing to replace what they had lost in the Harriet Tubman development.

The ordinance would require a percentage of units in every apartment complex in Chattanooga to charge rent by percentage of income, so lower income tenants could afford decent living quarters.

However, City Council members disagreed.

"The City of Chattanooga is attempting to get people to rehab houses; we're not talking about minimal standards we're talking not only affordable but quality,"

City Council Chairman, Yusuf Hakeem said by putting Harriet Tubman up for sale, it puts the community in a position to grow and for the quality of life to improve.
"We really believe that if we put some employment there-- a business that it would attract a grocery store because of the residential income would increase," said Hakeem. "It's a difference of opinion, but I think it will lead to more rational discussions to improve the neighborhood."

Once the attention has subsided, Hakeem says they can look at both the Mayor's plan and the people's ordinance to see what could be done to get them to the end goal, which is getting quality, affordable housing for the community.

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