Tennessee Riverpark re-opened - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Tennessee Riverpark re-opened

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Life will never be the same after the events that unfolded on July 16th. People continue to pay their respects at memorials on Lee Highway and at the reserve center on Amnicola Highway.

The section of the Tennessee Riverpark next the reserve center re-opened Wednesday. It has been closed over the past few weeks as the FBI investigated.

People we spoke with say the area surrounding the operational and support center is now considered hallowed ground.

"This is my first time here in three weeks. I wanted to take my time and I wanted to see the memorial," said Terri Conwell.

Conwell usually rides her bike up and down the riverwalk once or twice a week.
"I've been by here hundreds of times and it's just so different right now," she said.

People continue to stop by the memorial on on Amnicola Highway, placing flags, some stopping to pray.
"It's just very quiet and I think a lot of people are still respecting what happened here," said Conwell.

It is the first time since the July 16th shootings the public can use the section of riverwalk in front of the Navy Operational Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center.

Chattanooga Police guard the entrance and those stationed at the center are thoroughly screening any vehicle going in and out.
"It choked me up. I felt a sadness. It tugged at my heart a lot," said Conwell.

 "Those guys lost their lives a few yards from here protecting us," said Gary Cookston.
"I just can't imagine what was going through their minds when they heard the shots start firing," said his wife, Gayle.

The Cookstons stopped at the memorial to pay their respects.
"I'm feeling so sorry for the families who have lost their loved ones and the guys that are gone and will miss so much of their children's lives," said Gayle.

They say with a son in the National Guard, they can only imagine what the families are going through.
"I know how we felt when our son left us twice to serve in Afghanistan and Iraq. But he came back," said Gary.

"They have my deepest condolences and my prayers. I will be praying for all the families," said Gayle.

Uniformed personnel were seen outside the reserve center Wednesday, but there is no word if or when the center will be fully operational again.

The section of the Riverpark that was closed stretched from the from the CB Robinson Bridge to the west entrance across from the Coca-Cola plant.

The area surrounded the Navy Operational Support Center Chattanooga where the four U.S. Marines and Navy sailor were fatally shot.

The re-opened area includes the playground and Fry Center.

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