UPDATE: New Tennessee Riverpark extension open - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: New Tennessee Riverpark extension open

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: The new Tennessee Riverpark extension opened Friday, adding three new miles to the popular path along the Tennessee River. 

Parties and events Friday and Saturday will mark the opening of the new section, which winds from near the aquarium to the foot of Lookout Mountain.

The new parkland passes through sections of the city’s industrial and cultural heritage and marks the fulfillment of the Riverpark's 30-year development plan. 

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According to Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger, “This latest extension will create hours of enjoyment for our residents and visitors as they stroll along the Riverwalk.”

The new $16 million expansion includes views of Lookout Mountain and Chattanooga’s south side and features a 12-foot wide paved trail and the new Blue Goose Hollow Amphitheater. 

The Amphitheater's name honors a small African American community that stood near the site at the turn of the century. Blues musician Bessy Smith got her start singing there for coins. 

Senator Bob Corker said it wasn't such a nice view back when he was mayor.

"This city was so dead. I mean it was just not a place young people wanted to be," Corker said.
    
Now as part of the Riverwalk renaissance there are new apartments, hotels, and the city hopes to attract new retail shops.

"The opening of this and knowing that it was coming has catalyzed development and you're only going to see that continue," Mayor Berke said.

Visitors to the riverpark will pass by the soon-to-be closing Alstom plant.

Channel 3 asked the city what's next for that space?

"We're looking at how to best use the Alstom site and one of the big things we want to do is bring jobs," Berke said.

Mayor Berke said the next step in the park’s development will be a short section connecting the Riverpark with the trails on Lookout Mountain, including the Chattanooga National Military Park.

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