The up and coming Bridgeport Community has landed another major community development project due to the massive momentum their economy has witnessed, in light of Google’s newly established presence.

The Tennessee Riverine Project is a regional watershed-park development plan that will affect three states and is coordinated by the University of Tennessee Knoxville College of Agriculture and Design. According to their website, this is “a vision for North America’s next great regional trail system,” providing a hands-on learning project meant to help UT students learn how to rebuild rural communities through a first of its kind multi-level, cross community project.

The Project goal: “Celebrate the beauty, diversity, and history of the Tennessee River Valley. Connect the people and communities of the valley to each other, to our river heritage, and to the Tennessee River landscape. Catalyze new investments, economic opportunity, social health, and ecological stewardship.”

In July 2019 Bridgeport was chosen as one of five, out of 12 communities, who applied to be initially connected to the destinations along the Tennessee RiverLine project. As a kickoff to the pilot project the Tennessee RiverLine organization in partnership with the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program out of Chattanooga, held a preliminary brainstorming session with the Bridgeport community on August 9th.

Then in September, 15 University of Tennessee Knoxville College of Architecture & Design students visited Bridgeport to discuss the community's past, present and future as they work to develop a real-world strategy to connect the town's growth to the Tennessee Riverine project. “The success of this project is developed upon the success of the community, but we must first understand the needs of the community before a tangible plan can take shape.” Brad Collett, Associate Professor at Knoxville’s School of Landscape Architecture

During the next phase of the project, students will be assigned to pilot communities and begin work on a design project.  This is an opportunity for students to implement training in a real-world learning scenario that is sure to make a lasting impact both on Bridgeport and the student's careers.


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