Living in a city like Chattanooga, it’s easy to feel like we are all one big family, with everyone residing in a single, great, varied neighborhood. As true as that sometimes feels, when you take one look at Ben Huffine’s website, Chattablocks.com, you’ll see just how far you can categorize our many neighborhoods.
From Riverview to St. Elmo, Orchard Knob to Fort Wood, Chattablocks enables you to enter your street address or Zip code and view what’s going on in your neighborhood. From the site’s main page, you will find recent articles from various Chattanooga news publications. These articles highlight both positive and negative aspects of the city, while the rest of the site is highly informative and frequently updated with crime reports and highway incidents.
“Things that happen in my neighborhood are intrinsically more important to me than things that happen on the other side of town,” Huffine said. With that in mind, Chattablocks can supply targeted reports of shootings and restaurant inspections, crime convictions and neighborhood news. If you are interested in city government, you’ll find City Council minutes and department news as well.
While Chattablocks reveals a darker element within our city, the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce offers an antidote with “The World is Talking About Chattanooga,” a page that displays the positive media attention the city attracts. The page showcases articles praising Chattanooga’s appeal to retirees, tourists and businesspeople, to name a few, with headlines that shout “Chattanooga Rocks When It Comes to Broadband” and “Chattanooga #1 in Economic Growth Potential.”
The feed is, of course, heavy on rankings and business investment, as might be expected. The Chamber is in the business of promoting the city as a destination for business. But if you can wade past the initial boosterism, there are some interesting reads here and it’s a great resource to find out what outsiders think about our fair city.
Perhaps a balance of the two sites would level one’s mind about Chattanooga. However, while Chattablocks is built on information in the public domain that identifies the less-than-appealing facts about Chattanooga, the news articles are a blend of the good, bad and neutral.
“I hope [by visiting the site] residents will gain a sense of what is happening around them and an appreciation of what goes on in our city,” Huffine said, noting the site is very much a one-man operation and a work-in-progress.
If you like the features on the site, you can also find updates on Twitter @chattablocks to receive updated information. The tags may be specific to your neighborhood, but all of the updates are regional, as Chattablocks relies on broad information to better inform the population.
Chattablocks is building a solid foundation, mashing important information about Chattanooga neighborhoods. This hub of information is something worth watching as it continues to expand.