Tuesday, Chattanooga won a top environmental sustainability rating that officials believe will help it attract more jobs and businesses. Millie Callaway, a TVA senior consultant for economic development, said only 13 communities in its seven-state service area will be cited this year. Just two others are platinum, or top-ranked, so far — Knoxville and Oak Ridge. TVA sponsored the initiative to help cities and counties catalogue their sustainable assets, and the effort is weighted toward business actions, Callaway said.
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said the citation highlights the link between sustainability, economic development and quality of life. “I think a lot about the Chattanooga brand,” he said at a news conference. “It’s so tied up with sustainability.”
Officials on Tuesday noted Chattanooga’s Volkswagen plant, which last year was named the world’s first platinum-badged Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design auto assembly factory. Enterprise South industrial park, which holds VW, a handful of its suppliers and an Amazon distribution center, was created from a polluted former U.S. Army ammunition production plant. The city also has 35 miles of linear greenways and trails, including the 11-mile Tennessee Riverwalk which runs to downtown.