The Garden Club of America recognized Chattanooga’s 21st-century waterfront plan at its annual meeting and became one of only three recipients to have ever received a prestigious award.
The meeting was held last week in Savannah, Ga.
Each year, GCA recognizes individuals and projects that have made a significant impact in the areas of horticulture, conservation and civic improvement. Chattanooga's waterfront project received the Elvira Broome Doolan Medal for innovative work in landscape architecture with an emphasis on city planning and civic improvement in urban areas.
Chattanooga's waterfront plan is one of only three recipients to have ever received the Elvira Broome Doolan Medal from Garden Club of America, one of the others being Lynden Breed Miller, one of New York City‘s foremost public garden designers. Miller helped transform the Conservatory Garden in Central Park and created gardens at the New York Botanical Garden, Bryant Park, Central Park Zoo and others.
Recognized for its story of municipal government and its citizens coming together to take their city to another level, the waterfront plan brought together more than 300 citizens in public meetings to brainstorm and share ideas to formulate a plan for the next phase of Riverfront development.
The result was a many-faceted project that helped complete the overarching vision of connecting the river to the heart of the city, a vision set by Chattanoogans more than 25 years ago with the creation of the 1984 Tennessee Riverpark master plan.
The project included expansion of three major downtown attractions: the Tennessee Aquarium, the Hunter Museum of Art and the Creative Discovery Museum. Public parks and walkways along the Tennessee River were expanded and improved, with 39 new acres added. Expanded mooring space for leisure and commercial boat traffic and revitalization of a 23-acre wetland were achieved. Also, more than 1,100 trees were planted along the waterfront. Additionally, significant pieces of public art were installed, including the Holmberg Pedestrian Bridge. It was constructed over Riverfront Parkway and connected the once-isolated Hunter Museum to the heart of the city.
“Chattanooga’s lifelong dedication and hard work have made a vast difference to the Garden Club of America. The awards committee believes the 21st-century waterfront project truly exemplifies innovative work in landscape architecture with an emphasis on city planning and civic improvement in urban areas,” said Robert Gongaware, national chairman of the awards committee for GCA.
The Garden Club of America, based in New York City, is a nonprofit national organization comprised of more than 17,000 members of GCA clubs who dedicate energy and expertise to projects in their communities and the nation. Founded in 1913, the Garden Club of America has become a recognized leader in the fields of horticulture, conservation and civic improvement. There are 195 member clubs in 40 states and Washington, as well as in eight foreign Courtesy Clubs.