Are you concerned about the future of the former Harriet Tubman Housing site? Do you want to work with your neighbors to help make sure this development brings good jobs and other benefits to working people in Chattanooga?

Seven organizations posed these questions to the community and are now working together with residents to help steer Area 3 priorities as it relates to the development of the Former Harriet Tubman Site and the creation of a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA).

A Tubman Town Hall was hosted by Hope for the Inner City, Unity Group of Chattanooga, Chattanooga Area Labor Council, Chattanooga Organized for Action, Accountability for Taxpayer Money, The Urban League of Chattanooga and Glass House Collective. Chattanooga City Council members and the general public were also invited.

The amazing turnout on Saturday demonstrates that this is an important conversation. People are eager to know what Community Benefit Agreements are and what it takes to see them through.  The town hall was an important first step as we walk into this learning process together.

From the Town Hall Agenda:

  • “What’s This Town Hall All About?” 
  •   “As a coalition of organizations representing residents, laborers, people of faith, and taxpayers, we believe that the development of public land should happen with the community at the table. If we want a seat to have a seat at the table, we must be proactive in working together to form thought-out requests that be brought to the negotiation table with our city leaders and future developers.”

A transparent community-led process is needed with everything guided by a three-tiered approach:  Area 3 Focused – Community Led – City Supported.  With this in mind, participants at the town hall broke out in small groups for brainstorming sessions and taking surveys writing down their top ideas that should be included as community benefits for the Tubman site.  If you weren’t able to attend the Town Hall, or if you know of an organization, group or church who would be interested in taking the Community Benefit Survey please contact Austin Sauerbrei at 615-809-4448 or

We understand that CBAs are just one tool and not the cure-all magic bullet. It is important to find and use all of the tools available at our disposal to hold developers accountable for the community development impacts of their projects in our neighborhoods.

Building a coalition to determine a CBA for Tubman will take a commitment of time, patience, and effort.  A strong coalition will need strong participation from all across Area 3 and Glass House Collective is committed to working together with city officials, residents and the entire coalition for the best outcomes. And we can win. Anne Barnett with StandUpNashville reminds us, “We have so much more power than we think we do. And we sure have more power together than we do apart.”

Thank you to Stand Up Nashville’s Anne Barnett for sharing their CBA success story. Thank you Hope For The Inner City for hosting the Town Hall.

March 9, 2019

CBA Town Hall, March 9, 2019

tubman town hall planning

Facilitators’ planning meeting preparing for the CBA Town Hall.