Chattanooga celebrates new & improved Miller Park with day-long party, concert

Miller Park reopening party - Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke Twitter @AndyBerke.PNG
The Scenic City welcomed its newest attraction Friday with a party and concert that lasted into the night. (Image: Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke on Twitter - @AndyBerke)

The Scenic City welcomed its newest attraction Friday with a party and concert that lasted into the night.

After more than a year of construction, Miller Park is open once again, a gathering place for downtown residents and workers.

One of the main attractions is the new EPB community stage, where the popular music series Nightfall will kick off next year.

The park's grassy area will host pick-up soccer games and community events.

Alesha Manning moved to Chattanooga less than six months ago. "It's nice to be able to come out to an open park in the middle of the day on a Friday," says Manning.

That's exactly what the park's designers had in mind.

The original Miller Park was built in the '70s, and the city said its look and feel needed an update.

The renovation project cost $10.3 million. $4.2 million of that was paid by the city, and the rest came from donations and partnerships.

Senator Bob Corker was a big part of Chattanooga's revitalization when he served as mayor.

"While yes this is beautiful, and while yes people will enjoy this, what it does is continue to anchor us and continue to make us so different from really any other city in our state," Sen. Corker said at the grand opening Friday.

USB ports on the park's benches let visitors connect to Chattanooga's public wi-fi - just one feature the city hopes will draw quite the crowd to this new space.

"But most of all, I'm going to be happy when I walk past people hanging out, sitting on these steps, eating lunch, listening to music, talking to their friends - that's what makes a city great," said Mayor Andy Berke.

Alesha Manning says that Miller Park is just one of many things she sees improving the livability of downtown Chattanooga.

"I will say having something like this for the community, it's in a good spot, and as far as marketing is concerned I see that Chattanooga is growing."

The park was once a spot where the homeless community gathered.

We spoke with Chattanooga's homeless program coordinator Sam Wolfe, who says that they will be handing out cards, directing people to resources they may need.

The park is now open to anyone that needs a place to come and relax from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. No one will be allowed overnight.