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ARCADIS redefines Chattanooga’s cityscape

Chattanooga, Tenn. — In 2011, the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Authority (CMAA) looked to turn empty car dealership parking lots adjacent to its runway into green space. At the same time, local leaders were working to address flooding and stormwater issues in the vicinity. Facilitating a public-private partnership between the city and the CMAA, ARCADIS worked with teams to transform the lots into a passive, green park that not only improved aesthetics and added nearly 700 trees to the cityscape, but reduced local flooding through carefully selected vegetation, surfaces and drainage systems. Less flooding has changed the game for area residents and business owners who now enjoy drier times during storms.

Local residents aren't the only ones taking note of ARCADIS' successes – the Water Environment Federation (WEF), a national organization devoted to water, recently held a contest in which a video produced about the stormwater improvements in Chattanooga won first-place in its category.

"Our people live, work and play in Chattanooga," said Pete Yakimowich, senior consultant at ARCADIS. "We're vested in community improvements that also have a positive impact on the environment — we own the responsibility to sustain our world and communities and seek to create exceptional and sustainable outcomes for Chattanooga now and for years to come."

In late spring of 2014, ARCADIS and RTKL teamed up with students from Chattanooga State Community College and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, and participated in Chattanooga's "Resource Rain Design Competition," intended to solicit the best and brightest ideas of how to implement low-impact development of green infrastructure in the city.

In its grand-prize winning entry, the team re-imagined Cherokee Boulevard, an underused thoroughfare connecting two main neighborhoods. The conceptual design included realistic renderings and "before and after" comparisons highlighting improvements such as pedestrian- and bike-friendly travel lanes, stormwater-friendly trees, planters, rain barrels and permeable surfaces to manage stormwater runoff and other features like additional bus stops.

The submittal was hailed "one of the most compelling and technically complete of any entry into the competition." The submittal also included a plan to fund the project and bring it into reality.