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Miller Park District Ideas Wanted

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

The first of three public workshops designed to gather community input on the new Miller Park District for downtown Chattanooga begins Thursday evening at the Miller Plaza Pavilion.

Chattanooga city officials want to hear from residents what they hope to see from the new district, which will ultimately link Miller Plaza, Miller Park, Patten Parkway and M.L. King Boulevard in the city's growing Innovation District.

" I would say out of everything I've seen, there's a lack of public restrooms," concludes U.S. Marine veteran and recent Chattanooga transplant Jeff Crooks. 

"What do I want to see done here? Well, the wi-fi could be better," says Antoine Ray, who says he frequents Miller Plaza nearly every day. 

"Just clean it up and make it prettier than what it is. Maybe plant some new flowers, some bushes and some fresh water fountains," suggests Meritta Heard, who says she often visits Miller Park just to relax.
 
The trio of suggestions are just the kind of public feedback the city of Chattanooga wants as it relates to the Miller Park District, set to coalesce next summer.
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"There's a lot of consensus that people are interested in, revitalization of the park, connecting it more to the street level," says Wes Michaels, the project's design team leader. 

Chattanooga city officials say they want to better connect people, businesses and visitors to existing urban green spaces.

"So, we're looking at all of it together and through that process, of working with all the stakeholders, I think we'll come out with a park design that suits all of those users," says Jenny Park, Chattanooga's Strategic Capital Planner who is charged with overseeing the multiple phase project.

"I think its very good that we live in a city where people are so considerate that they think of all of the citizens when they talk about something like the Miller Park District," says Jens Christensen, the Executive Director of Chattanooga's Community Kitchen. " To assume everyone who uses the park is homeless, is really a misconception."

Lead designer Wes Michaels says more events like the summer concert series Nightfall could be the ticket for greater park inclusiveness, and utility.
    
"The more you activate a space, the more inclusive it becomes," says Michaels. " So, the more people that are there, the more 
everyone feels welcome and everyone can use the space at the same time." Miller Park District public workshops begin Thursday at 6p, Friday at 8am and noon at the Miller Park Pavilion. 

If you're unable to make any of the public workshops, the city invites residents to use the survey at millerparkchattanooga.com..

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