Chattanooga Chamber Chats with Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger

By Abdiel Vallejo-Lopez

“Chamber Chatt” is a video series that provides an opportunity to interact with Chattanooga’s elected officials. In this month’s “Chamber Chatt,” Justin Furrow, Chair of Public Policy, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, spoke with Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger to learn more about economic development in Hamilton County.

The mayor opened the session by sharing a status update on the McDonald Farm purchase. The city approved purchasing the nearly 2,200-acre property for $16 million in July and is expected to close on the property around mid-November, per the mayor. Once in the city’s possession, the property will serve as a long-term economic generator for Hamilton County and its surrounding neighbors, with dedicated space for recreational and natural preservation purposes.

Coppinger also discussed the county’s $833 million budget for the fiscal year of 2022. Hamilton County passed the budget in June which allocates funds for projects including public safety, emergency medical services and economic development, as well as a substantial investment on education.

After sharing his thoughts on redistricting and the potential of increasing the number of seats on the county commission, the mayor then gave an update on the county’s response to COVID-19. Early this month, Hamilton County Health Department announced that 50 percent of residents were fully vaccinated. While there is still a large portion of the population that has yet to be vaccinated, the health department’s efforts have brought the county closer to reaching the Healthy Chattanooga Coalition goal of 60 percent vaccination rate by December.

The mayor encouraged residents to vaccinate before sharing his closing remarks.

“We’ve had a lot of success with the help of the Chamber of being able to create 71 new businesses in the last 10 years, and have 135 companies expand here in Hamilton County,” says Coppinger.

Watch the full interview, here.