UPDATE: Miller Park to reopen Sept. 14 with big celebration and festivities
After months of work and road closures, the new Miller Park is set to be unveiled September 14.
UPDATE: Months in the making, the new and improved Miller Park is scheduled to make its public debut Friday, September 14.
The day-long event will begin at 11:00am with a ribbon cutting and remarks from Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, EPB President & CEO David Wade, River City Company President Kim White, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee President & CEO J.D. Hickey, M.D., followed by music from Carlos Colon & His Tropical Swing Band and Hip Hop CHA on the EPB Community Stage.
The Power Players featuring Willie Kitchens (The Impressions), Amber Carrington (semi-finalist on The Voice) and Voices of THECREATIVEUNDERGROUND, Ogya World Music Band, and Hive Theory will headline Friday night festivities at the grand opening of the newly renovated Miller Park.
“The city and partners have created an incredible space for our community,” Mayor Berke said. “I am excited to see how Miller Park will be a new gathering place for our creators in the Innovation District and bring about an additional sense of community for all Chattanoogans,” according to a new release.
Events and entertainment will pick back up at 6 p.m. with performances on the EPB Community Stage and Miller Plaza, including an evening market with local vendors in Waterhouse Pavilion.
The $10.6-million project is a public-private endeavor between the City of Chattanooga and numerous partners includes the EPB Community Stage, which can be used for community meetings or open up the rolling door to create a larger space that can accommodate performances large or small.
Road closures along E. 10th St. and E. ML King Blvd. from Market St. to Georgia Ave. will begin at 5:00pm.
- 11:00am - Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
- 11:30am to 12:15pm - Carlos Colon & His Tropical Swing Band
- 12:45-2:00pm - Hip Hop CHA
- 2-6pm - Park open
- 6-6:10pm - Mayor Andy Berke remarks (EPB Community Stage)
- 6-8pm - Miller Plaza Market opens
- 6:15pm - Hive Theory (EPB Community Stage)
- 7:15pm - Ogya World Music Band (Miller Plaza Stage)
- 8:30-10:00pm - The Power Players feat. Voices of THECREATIVEUNDERGROUND, Willie Kitchens, Amber Carrington and more (EPB Community Stage)
In addition to the concerts, the opening will also feature a myriad of performance artists - Dollies of Fire Troupe, Veridian Bellydance of Movement Arts Collective, The Jugglers Assembly, aerialists and an interactive LED light installation by The Enterprise Center and CHA Art/Dev.
On Saturday, Sept. 15, Public Art Chattanooga will hold its final input session for the CHA Creates public art plan at Miller Park from 9:30-11:30am.
PREVIOUS STORY: Renovations to Miller Park are in the final stages.
Crews are about to finish construction on the 40-year-old downtown landmark. The park closed last July as part of a $14-million district revamp involving ML King Boulevard and Patten Parkway.
Jackson Malcolm is one of the 40,000 people who walk by Miller Park each day.
“I work down here about four days a week," Malcolm said. "I spend a good amount of time in this area.”
He is ready for the construction to be finished.
“I am just glad they are approving the area and making it better for everyone,” said Malcolm.
However, he will not be able to enjoy the park for a few more weeks.
Construction will finish on time at the end of July. But crews still have to complete landscaping projects for the park to be open to the public.
Until then, a fence will remain up to prevent anyone from entering.
“I am not surprised. Same with the interstate, that has been taking a long time too. I feel like everything that they start just takes years to finish,” said Sarah Durham.
Last July, Channel 3 obtained a copy of a letter sent to big businesses in Chattanooga from River City, the company in charge of the Miller Park District Revamp. At that time, they still needed $2.5 million to fund the new Miller Park. They were asking companies to help dig them out of debt.
One year later, a spokesperson tells us the Miller Park section of the project has been paid for. But River City still needs to complete additional fundraising efforts for the Patten Parkway project once those plans are finalized.
The construction has been an eyesore for the area since the start of the project.
Chattanoogans are now counting the days until it reopens.
“I am ready for it to open. I know that is how construction goes and I don't mind,” said Malcolm.
“It is annoying. I feel like Chattanooga never finishes anything or takes forever to finish it. It is noisy and bothersome,” said Durham.
The city hopes to have a ceremony after the Labor Day weekend as a celebration of the reopening.