A Changing City
I grew up in Chattanooga. My parents lived in a rural area about 20 minutes from downtown. So, I had this nice balance of "country life" and "city life"; but I always got excited whenever we had to go downtown. I remember being younger and thinking downtown Chattanooga was so massive. I transferred to a school in downtown Chattanooga when I was 11 or 12, and from then on out I would see the slow progressions as this city grew, day-to-day.
The point I'm getting at, is Chattanooga is changing, it's growing... and fast. We outpaced Knoxville in the past few years as far as population growth is concerned. We're also one of the best cities to be in, in a post-recession economy. Things this are evident by just taking a look out of my apartment's window as I see new houses being built and new buildings going up constantly.
I moved away from here when I went to school. Living around the Nashville area for about seven years. During which time I would come back periodically, and see slight changes or alterations to buildings. Even though Nashville is only about two hours away I didn't make it back "home" that often. I moved back to Chattanooga in 2012. I had my fun running around town, and getting to re-learn this place where I had grown up. I quickly realized something, that Chattanooga was no longer my childhood playground in my backyard. This place had become a "real" city.
Honestly, it was a bit of a shock. It wasn't like a life-awakening, I was arrested after a bender sort of shock. But, it was a shock. I remember this city before the Aquarium was there. Which wasn't that long ago,but what I'm saying is, this city has grown at an exponential rate.
Some thing that I, as a native, do not think some of the newer folks in town can remember or necessarily appreciate. For instance, how about the old chimney that used to stand by the riverfront? On what is now Cold Stone Creamery and Blue Plate's lawn.
Here's another for you. Bad Ass Coffee. It was in what is now Hair of the Dog Pub. I remember passing it on my way to school and saying it, just because my mom couldn't fuss at me for swearing... I was talking about a donkey that is on a sign!
This city has changed at a drastic pace, and it is finally starting too look like that "big city" I saw it as when I was younger. Chattanooga has a great community about it, which I think helps push this change. We aren't a group of people that will settle. Time and time again, I've seen Chattanoogans say they want something, then they get it. We get shit done around these parts. It shows not just in the people around here but the fact that we've appeared on numerous top ten lists over the past few years, our Soccer... um... Futbol team kicks a fair bit of ass, and we're slowly becoming a hotspot for a very collaborative brewing community.
As a Chattanooga native, I'm very proud of what our city has become over the years. I've been with it for quite some time, and in some ways, its almost been like watching a child grow.