New Looks Begins For Historic Fort Oglethorpe

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CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee – (WDEF) – One specific area of a North Georgia town is about to receive a new look.

Lafayette Road in Fort Oglethorpe leads into the Chickamauga Battlefield.

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It’s still the official downtown area of Fort Oglethorpe.

But as it stands, it doesn’t really look like a downtown. And city leaders are now prepared to change that.

After receiving a grant for beautification, the city is holding focus groups with the locals. Trying to find out what they want.

According to city manager Molly Huhn, “a lot of people are saying they want it to look prettier. And they want it to be fun.

They want to see vertical development. They want to see livelihood and activity. And green space.

Those tend to be the common things.”

So why did this area slow down?

An area that leads into the battlefield, which welcomes over half a million tourists each and every year?

The main culprit is the building of the 27 bypass many years ago.

Lafayette Road lost about 2/3rds of its traffic because OF the bypass. And foot traffic almost disappeared.

Fort O Director of Public Works Jeff Long, who is a native, wants it all back.

“I live two blocks from where we stand right now, said Long.

It would be nice for my family to be able to walk and enjoy music and dining. To just get out and see people on the street.

We always want to see our city grow.”

Patience will be a key though. Beautifying any area is a cooperative effort between elected officials and the public.

Huhn says “the city of Chattanooga started its beautification process decades ago.

If you do it right, you’re always working on it. I think we’ll see progress here in a couple of years.”

Huhn says while Highway 2A is the practical side of Fort O, Lafayette Road needs to show what this historic city….is all about.

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Dave joins the News 12 staff after 35 years of anchoring and reporting at a competing station here in the Chattanooga market. Dave has been honored with multiple awards in the arena of sports reporting. He is an eight time NATAS MidSouth Emmy Award nominee, winning the coveted award three times. Dave has also won ten Edward R. Murrow regional awards for sports reporting, winning the national Edward R. Murrow sports reporting award three times. He's also won multiple Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists sports reporting awards. Dave is also a member of the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame. Dave came to Chattanooga after starting his TV career in Wyoming and Colorado. He was born and raised in northern Minnesota, graduating from Hibbing Community College. He's also a graduate of the former Brown Institute of Broadcasting in Minneapolis. Dave is happily married to his lovely wife Ginnia. They are blessed with a houseful of pets, both dogs and cats. They enjoy a wide array of hobbies. For Dave, golf is at the top of the list. Feel free to get in touch with Dave at dstaley@wdef.com. He'd love to hear from you!!