Fast Web and Local Food Key to Chattanooga's Revival

Through a combination of local food initiatives and the installation of a new high-speed fiber optic network, the city of Chattanooga is hoping to continue its trend of recovering from years of industrial decline.
July 11, 2011, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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Neal Peirce visits the city to see how these two efforts are playing out, and how the city can use them to gain a competitive advantage over other regions.

"The Chattanoogians' next challenge is how to build a new economy around the rapid smart grid service - and before other regions catch up. New companies may be attracted, for example, by virtually instantaneous videoconference capability that might attract footloose young entrepreneurs in search of short commutes, mountain trails and other smaller city amenities. There is some question about how well the region supports start-up firms, but an "angel" venture capital fund - Chattanooga Renaissance - fills some of the gap.

Chattanooga's other ambitious new agenda is promotion of locally grown foods - tasty, healthy, fresh, and grown from city backyards out to the 13-county surrounding area.

The food initiative is being pushed by the locally-based Bentwood Foundation, commiting $1.65 million to a three-year "Gaining Ground" initiative."

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Published on Thursday, July 7, 2011 in Citiwire
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