Bridging the gap in Whitfield County - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Bridging the gap in Whitfield County

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"You had to walk all the way around, and for some of the people that's a little difficult," recalls Teresa Knight. She drives from Chatsworth to Dalton's Brookwood Park nearly every week with her friend.

For 30 years, it's been a quiet getaway for hundreds of locals and visitors each week.

However, last September flash flooding washed out the old wooden bridge that connected the main parking area to the amenities on the other side, such as the playgrounds and pavilion.

Parks and Recreation director Steve Card says new environmental rules made it more challenging and more expensive to replace the bridge.

"With the new permitting and with the new regulation laws, we could not put a pole in the middle of the creek," explains Card. "We had to span the entire distance."

Forty feet across Tar Creek, a state waterway. The new bridge is made of steel, is designed to better withstand the elements, and to most people looks nicer.

"The more weather that comes upon it, it's actually good for the bridge because if gives it more of a rustic feel," says Card.

The $22,000 project was the first to be completed using funds from a four-year-long, one-cent sales tax increase approved in 2014. According to Card, Whitfield county could, in the end, collect $63 million for more projects, 30%-35% coming from visitors fueling up and dining at local establishments.

Knight says she doesn't mind where the extra penny is going.

"It's for us to enjoy. We're benefiting from it and it's nice to have," says Knight.

Card says work is on the way to improve more parks and wetlands and connecting them to green spaces. It's about bridging the community.

"Hopefully being able to continue to attract people to our community as well as giving our citizens a better quality of life," adds Card.

The next two projects are at Lakeshore Park where the wetlands and tennis courts will be restored; and an Haig Mill Reservoir where the surrounding land will be developed into a recreational area.

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