City Council Approves Contract for Brownfield Cleanup



CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Brownfields are abandoned properties that can be redeveloped for future use. They are typically the locations of previous industrial sites, and are likely complicated by the presence of hazardous substances.


Brownfield site on Tennessee Avenue

Unfortunately, over 200 brownfield sites have been identified in the Alton Park area alone. This area was once home to the industrial and textile mills, chemical plants, and manufacturing hubs that made this part of Chattanooga a booming city. In the past century, however, the population and the industrial plants declined, leaving Alton Park area to become home to illegal dumping of pollutants, abandoned properties, and more.

Chamber Vice President of Economic Development Charles Wood said, “There are quite a few,” about brownfield sites in the city, “They offer an opportunity [to rebuild] with infrastructure already in place.”

Wood said his preference is to redo larger sites. “Those would allow for a substantial project,” he said.

The EPA brownfield cleanup grant has awarded Hamilton County 400,000 dollars toward the excavation and redevelopment of these sites. Chattanooga has chosen to cleanup the 54-acre Old 36th street Landfill site, which is contaminated with polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Funds will also be used to clean up the 9.5 acres of Old Railroad property stretching from Tennessee Avenue to W. 37th street. This area was previously used for unauthorized dumping, and is highly contaminated with polyaromatic hydrocarbons and metals.

(You can view a video of the brownfield site on Tennessee Avenue Here)

Richard Beeland, a spokesman for Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield, said the mayor likes the concept.

“It puts untaxable property on the rolls. It recruits jobs. It has existing infrastructure,” he said.


Brownfield site – Tennessee Avenue.

David DeVaney, president of NAI Charter Real Estate Corp., said “Since brownfield sites are in places such as Alton Park, attracting businesses to the locations is a way of bringing jobs back to the central city.”

The  Chattanooga City Council just recently amended a resolution for director of general services Dan Thornton to complete contracts with companies Terracon, Thomas Brothers Construction, and Wright Brothers Construction in the cleanup of these different sites.

Thornton said, “How much work it takes to clean up a brownfield depends on the contaminant at the site. Cleanup can take months, depending on the site.”

According to the Times Free Press, “Five years ago, Chattanooga’s Enterprise South industrial park was a 6,000-acre brownfield. Today, it holds the only auto plant in the world — the Volkswagen facility — that has Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.”

Restoring these brownfield sites not only betters the environment, but it provides opportunities for more commercial and industrial businesses to come to Chattanooga and provide residents with jobs.

For more information about brownfield cleanups in Tennessee, click here to visit the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s brownfield redevelopment information page.

By: Ashley Broockman and Brian Bass

UTC Housing After the Students Are Gone

By: Alan Denton

Chattanooga, Tenn. (UTC/ The Loop)—For most students, summer begins after their last final is completed, but students who live on campus have one last deadline to meet. All must be checked out of the dorms by May 6 at noon unless you are graduating or a currently competing athlete.

Steven Hood, the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Housing, said that the deadline is in the best interest of the students and institution. “Because we are an educational institution,” said Hood, “and when classes aren’t going on, you have idle minds, with nothing to do, things can tend to go wrong. We want to try and avoid that both for the institution and for the students. We recognize that some may perceive it as rigid and inflexible but there is good reason for it.”

The 5000 Building On UTC's South Campus

This could pose as a potential problem for students who don’t live close enough to come back for their graduating friends, but for most, coming back would be a simple inconvenience.

Lauren Griffin, a freshman from Cleveland, Tenn., said “I really am not effected by the move out date just because I don’t live too far away. So it’s not a problem for me to just come back for graduation.”

According to a March 2010 UTC document, 34 percent of the undergraduates live in campus housing as compared to Knoxville’s 26 percent and MTSU’s 12 percent. More than half of the student population comes from outside the immediate Chattanooga area with all but two of Tennessee’s 95 counties represented in the 2010 school year, the document says.

The month of May is the only time housing has the liberty to get projects finished without some of the thousands of visitors that roll through campus in June and July being here, according to Hood. The only exception is summer school housing in Walker Apartments, changing from the UC Foundation building that has housed summer students since it opened six years ago.

As of Monday, April 25, housing had 80 students ranging from people taking summer classes to the softball, golf, and cross-country team signed up for the first session Hood said.

Hood said there are three main projects for housing to be completed by this fall other than touch-up painting. Lockmiller will undergo Phase 2 remodeling, which means there will be cosmetic renovations (new carpet, new light fixtures, painting the walls and kitchen cabinets) done to the apartments to the left of the sand volleyball courts.

UTC's North Campus Between Johnson-Obear and Boling

Locks will be changed in Guerry and UC Foundation for the first time since the university took over south campus. Thus far, UTC has changed three of the five buildings’ locks, including Walker Apartments over Christmas break. In May Guerry will be switched, and UC Foundation will be covered in August.

The most expensive project will be to continue to broaden the wireless coverage in campus housing. “In South Campus and in North Campus, we are expanding our wireless infrastructure,” Hood said. “All of Lockmiller will have it. All of Decosimo will have it and part of Johnson-Obear will. We are frankly behind the rest of the state in providing wireless in campus housing. That’s about a $100,000 investment in North and South Campus. And that will have about a third of campus housing to have wireless internet as a result of that including the other parts of campus that already had it.”

Click here for Steven Hood telling about the expansion of wireless internet in campus housing

After the last camp has checked out in a specific building typically at the middle or end of July, the maintenance men change gears to prepping for the fall, according to Hood. Boling Apartments is one of the first buildings given attention to due to the football players moving in for fall camp and Stophel Apartments will be one of the last because it is used for summer orientations.

Hood said that 75 percent of the camps are finished by the beginning of July, which means rooms will be closed up. This poses a problem for housing because of the high summer humidity that creates mold.

In Boling Apartments, some students were greeted with commercial grade dehumidifiers when they arrived in August 2010 but didn’t allow it to hinder them. Griffin said, “As an incoming freshman, I was confused why it was all there. But we didn’t let it bother us. We just moved them out to the front porch, so we had room to move in all of our stuff.”

Click here for Lauren Griffin talking about her experience with the large dehumidifiers

Hood doesn’t know if housing will pursue the state contracting company again to rent the mostly preventative equipment. The possibility still stands that UTC may purchase their own commercial grade dehumidifiers.

“We are looking at our end-of-the-year budget to make some decisions on that,” Hood said.





Concerning Lions Make a Splash In Chattanooga’s Indie Music Scene

By Grahm Long

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) — From their polished vocals to their seamless integration of jazz and folk rock, The Concerning Lions are emerging as a bright spot in Chattanooga’s independent rock scene.

As their Facebook biography page states, “Split between Nashville and Chattanooga, Concerning Lions is a quintet divided geographically, but united by writing songs they enjoy performing together.”

The group’s formation goes back to a childhood bond between leader singer and UTC student Brian Beise and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Durham.

After a couple of years playing various gigs in downtown Chattanooga with Beise, Durham discovered lead guitarist Chase Gamble and banjoist Daniel Hallum. Through Gamble, the band acquired drummer and fellow UTC student, Nathan Miller.

The fall of 2008 marked the quintet’s debut at The North Chatt Cat, a bar located on Frazier Avenue in the downtown area. Click here to listen how the Concerning Lions got their big break.

The North Chatt Cat, located on 346 Frazier Avenue

While the band generated buzz among music enthusiasts in the region, it also captured the attention of the Sodium Glow record company in Nashville, TN.

David Terry, one of the producers at Sodium Glow, had previously worked with Beise under an internship during high school. However, it was Durham’s connection to Terry that sent them to Nashville.

The meeting with Terry produced the band’s five song EP album titled A Movement Back and Forth, which released in the fall of 2009.

“On the first track of Concerning Lions’ debut EP, A Movement Back and Forth, singer Brian Beise implores: ‘Meet us,’” says Paste Magazine columnist, Rachel Bailey. “Canon” offers a salutation of acoustic strumming and stretchy electric yawns, punctuated by banjo interjections and the occasional tambourine jingle, suggesting the Tennessee mountains from whence these Lions hail.”

The band’s first time in the studio was not only a rewarding experience but also a learning one as well.

“Recording the drums in the studio was interesting, sometimes your hands and feet are not on the beat they should be, but it was good – it made me a better drummer,” says Miller. “It allowed me to listen to things that I never knew that I did before, either good or bad. It was pretty tough at times, because I had to redo things over and over again.”

The Concerning Lions: Pictured from left to right - lead guitarist Chase Gamble, drummer Nathan Miller, banjoist Daniel Hallum, multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Durham, and lead singer Brian Biese.

Beise says the process of composing music has made the band “more intentional about exploring and listening to music.” Brian Biese tells how the Concerning Lions made him a better musician

Recently, the Concerning Lions released a live-in-studio, full length, sophomore album titled The Winter Set.

“Every time we get to do a gig, I try to remember that standing up in front of people and playing songs is kind of a ridiculous thing to do,” says Beise. “And to ask them to take it seriously and clap at the end of the song, it’s obscene in a lot of ways and sort of audacious, so you have to be really grateful.”

Chattanooga Teen Exposes the Struggles of Being Gay on Campus

By:Brittany Tonkin

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/ The Loop)- Entering a college classroom and facing your peers for the first time is a nerve racking experience for anyone, but imagine already being judged and stereotyped before you even take your seat. That is exactly what happens every time Will Scruggs, an 18 year-old freshman, enters a classroom; Will is openly gay.

Will Scruggs Studying

Will Scruggs grew up in the Chattanooga area and during his high school years hid a very large, defining part of himself- his sexuality. Entering college gave Will the chance to be true to himself and open up about his sexual orientation to his peers and family.

Not everyone was excited about Will’s “new-found” lifestyle and some of his former high school classmates have had no problem letting him know that. Scruggs said that he has had fellow college classmates with previous connections from high school stop talking to him on a regular basis, or completely ignore him all together after discovering he is gay.

Aside from encountering peers from his past, Will also faces the daily challenge of meeting new peers. Although Will feels that most people he meets will be polite and accepting, he said that it is still nerve racking meeting new people at school because he doesn’t know how they perceive him as well as the “gay community.”

Scruggs said, ” I have never experienced a teacher taking a personal prejudice against me being gay or  have that reflected on the grades I receive in their class, but I would definitely say that it does present a very strong challenge in assimilating in with your peers and your classmates. You don’t know who is accepting of you and who isn’t.”

Will ran into such an instance in his Anthropology class. He was selected to work in a group with fellow classmates to discuss religion. Throughout the discussion Will came to realize that the students in his group had very strong religious upbringings and still firmly held onto those beliefs.

Scruggs said that because the classmates in his group did not agree with his lifestyle they strongly excluded him from the group’s discussions and completely disregarded what his views on the topic of religion were.

Fortunately, not all students have treated Will the same way as the students in his Anthropology class. Lizzy Casey, a 20 year-old junior, said, “I have grown up in a very religous family and still attend church myself, but your lifestyle is your choice and dosen’t affect me or the way I treat someone.”

Stephanie Raulston and Will Scruggs Getting Ready for Class

Stephanie Raulston, a 20 year-old junior, said that being in classes and interacting with gay people doesn’t make her feel uncomfortable at all. She feels people don’t realize that discriminating against a gay person for their lifestyle is the same thing as being racist and should be treated as an equally sensitive topic.

Raulston said, “That’s your lifestyle, that’s who you are and there is no reason to discriminate against someone who is just oriented differently…It’s just like making a racist joke; it’s awkward if your offending someone.”

Will said he is thankful for people who choose to place their own biases aside or willingly accept him without thinking twice and only wishes everyone could do the same.

When asked if he had any advice for fellow gay students facing the same challenges, Scruggs said, “So long as teachers don’t dock your grades because of a personal opinion against homosexuality and it’s simply having problems with interacting with your peers and having them accept you sometimes in life you just kinda have to suck it up. You have to move on and you have to do your best to succeed academically.”

CLICK HERE to listen to Will Scruggs advice!

Chattanooga Mothers Against Gang Violence

By Katie Johnston

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/TheLoop)- Heartache laced with passion filled the air on the steps of City Hall on Friday, as women gathered to show their support for the ones who have lost their lives in the daily battles that are fought in Chattanooga’s streets.

With hands clasped tight, they joined in song with an understanding among all peoples present that they were not only singing, but they were soulfully weeping for their own fallen heroes who they say too often get swept under the rug.

In 2010, Chattanooga was ranked 11 out of 20 U.S. cities with a population over 100,000 for the highest crime rate, ranking higher than Detroit and Atlanta.

Demetrus Coonrod stands on the steps of City Hall to show her support for the fight against gang violence in Chattanooga.

Angel Kellogg and Demetrus Coonrod, are both residents of East Dalewood and have been working together for years to help come up with a solution to end the gang violence in our inner city.

“I was put through so I could pull someone else out,” said Kellogg. “Some of these kids will stay in the gang until the day they die.”

Kellogg said the misconception that many people have is that they think the change is going to come once we can reform the schools and the students in the schools. “I’m not worried about the kids getting on the bus, they’re not the problem. The problem is the kids walking down the street, smoking weed and drinking liquor.”

Click here to listen to Angel Kellogg talk about gang violence

Even though Chattanooga has taken steps at trying to deter violence by enforcing curfews for minors, both Coonrod and Kellogg agree that the change has to start at the root of the problem- the parents.

“We are mothers of the earth and we have to teach and mold our children,” said Kellogg. “I just want Chattanooga to be a safe place like it used to be.”

To show your support in the fight against violence and receive information about upcoming events, you can visit their Facebook page at Mothers Against Gang Violence.



  • Angel Kellogg
  • Demetrus Coonrod

Not Your Ordinary Business Conference

Who said you couldn’t mix business with pleasure as Association of Tennessee Alphamen host the district convention in Chattanooga.

By Bryson Simpson

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.(UTC/TheLoop)–The 2010 District Convention took place November 18 – 21 at the Sheraton Read House hotel. The District Convention had several events such as, business meetings, Ms. Black and Gold pageant, step show, oratorical, as well as others. Check online here for an overview of the hotel.

The Association of Tennessee Alphamen consists of 21 graduate and undergraduate chapters that are all over the state of Tennessee. 18 of the 21 chapters attended the District Convention this year. to learn more about ATA

The first day of District Convention was a meet and greet for all of the members of Association of Tennessee Alphamen. During the meet and greet the fraternity members did several teamwork building exercises with other chapters then their own. Also, the fraternity members performed strolls with different chapters.

After the meet and greet, the fraternity members from each chapter began to register delegates for the District Convention. The chosen delegates received gifts and free entrances to all the events during District Convention weekend. The last event of the day was brotherhood fellowship, where the undergraduate and graduate members congregate with each other.


The next day of the District Convention started with a business meeting about the importance of Health care for African Americans and getting routine checkups. They also, stated how some of the older fraternity members should be more open about routine checkups and encourage other people to get checkups as well.

After the Health care meeting, the voting for Assistant Area Director started. Brandon Batts from MTSU and Daniel Ashley from ETSU were the candidates up for election. Daniel Ashley was elected the new Assistant Area Director after all the votes were casted. To find out more about the Health care achievement

The Scholars Bowl was the next event that took place. The Scholars bowl is when all of the undergraduate fraternity members compete in a Jeopardy style trivia game. The Scholars Bowl consists of two rounds. After the first round the two chapters with the highest score will compete in the final round. UT Martin and ETSU were the two chapters that made it to the final round, with ETSU pulling out the victory in sudden death.

The last event of the day was Ms. Black and Gold. Eight chapters had the winner of their chapter Ms. Black and Gold compete in the pageant. The competition consists of swimsuit, talent, formal, and question answer. The pageant was so exciting because the competition was more intense then the chapter pageants. UT Martin queen won first place and will move on to compete at the Regional Convention. Information about the pageant is here

Winner of District Ms. Black and Gold Ashley White

Third day of District Convention started with a college brother luncheon. The luncheon was for undergraduate fraternity members; also the luncheon had guest speakers talking about the importance of implementing our national programs, which are Project Alpha, Voteless People is a Hopeless People, and Go to High School Go to College.

The college brother luncheon then leads into the Oratorical Contest. The Oratorical Contest consists of one member of each chapter giving a fifteen minute speech about a specific topic. Lane College, TSU, and Vanderbilt competed in the contest and the topic was Internet homeland security. Channing Bailey from TSU won the oratorical contest with his entertaining rap which tied into the topic.

College brother luncheon

Then came the highly anticipated step show where 18 chapters competed for who would win, and move on to step at the Regional Convention. Also, the district step show brings out the friendly rivalry because the winner also gets bragging rights. TSU received first place, MTSU received second, and UTC received fourth. Information on the step show can be found here

After the District Convention there was a ceremony for Fraternity member Arlyce Garth that recently had his 60th anniversary in the fraternity. The ceremony had several skits in that were entertaining. The fraternity members that were hosting the District Convention presented him with a life membership card.

There were parties for the undergraduate fraternity members both Friday and Saturday. Information about each party can be found here As District Convention ends, Regional Convention are right around the corner in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Downtown Chattanooga fueled by popular coffee shop hangout

The downtown Chattanooga coffee shop scene has been around a while, and Greyfriar’s Coffee & Tea Company has been fueling their customers with unique coffees and breakfast offerings for quite some time.

Jack Howland

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/TheLoop)For the better part of a decade, Greyfriar’s Coffee and Tea Company has been serving Chattanoogans quality coffee and pastries from the little shop at the corner of 4th and Broad streets.

Greyfriar’s is a full service coffee shop that features house roasted coffee, cappuccinos, lattes, and mochas and also specializes in such breakfast offerings as pastries, bagels, cakes and pies, all of which are baked in house.

Greyfriar's regularly displays their daily pastry and breakfast features for their customers.

The shop, along with the roastery, has inhabited the same building, located at 406 Broad St., since its inception.

The cozy shop offers a relaxing and laid back atmosphere coupled with specialty coffees and a full breakfast menu.

Greyfriar’s coffee selection typically features seven to ten different single origin roasts and blends at a time, the shop’s head roaster, Kevin Ricks, said.

However, Ricks added that he is constantly experimenting with blends and each bean’s flavor profiles of caramel, or chocolate, or berries or even spices and how to harmoniously unify each characteristic.

“As far as blends, we don’t really serve them in the shop,” Ricks added, “We do blends for different restaurants.”

Ricks added that in addition to Greyfriar’s, their coffee is also served at Big River Grille, 222 Broad St., and Neidlov’s Breadworks, 215 East Main St.

Greyfriar's features a full bar capable of brewing up anything their customers may think up.

However, their coffee can only be purchased in the coffee shop or online, though Ricks recommends customers call before ordering to be insured of the freshest and most available coffee selections.

“The big companies have more priority and the market prices for greens keep rising, but the projections for next year’s beans are much better than this year’s,” Ricks said.

Greens are the coffee beans before they are roasted.

This is what coffee beans look like prior to being put into the roasting machine.

Ricks began his coffee shop experience on the retail end, but moved to being the roaster for Greyfriar’s in June of this year. Ricks said he is completely fascinated by the nuances of roasting coffee.

“I had not roasted before, but the opportunity presented itself. It’s a lot of fun, I learn something new every day,” Ricks said.

Ricks added that he would like to see the shop grow both retail and wholesale wise and also expand to offer more lunch offerings for their food menu.

“I want the shop to continue being a second home for people, to where they can feel comfortable and enjoy the laid back atmosphere,” Ricks said.

If you liked this article, check out this article about another downtown coffee shop roasting their own coffee as well.

Chattanooga Haunts Unveiled

Every city has its tales of ghosts and phantoms. The same goes for Chattanooga and the many historic landmarks where these ghostly beings still call home.

By: Corey Honeycutt

Chattanooga/Tenn.(UTC/LOOP)–Chattanooga has become quite a tourist attraction as it continues to build and expand. It’s come a long way from the city it started  back during the Civil War.  With such a history its only natural to have a few skeletons in its closet.

In 1867 Chattanooga was flooded when the Tennessee river rose 57-feet. Many lost their lives and homes as the waters continued to rise leaving downtown Chattanooga in ruins. Once the waters receded survivors picked up their lives where they could and rebuilt their town 20-feet above the original. The memory of the flood and old city were lost as the years past, until it was discovered by an archeologists and UTC Professor Dr. Jeff Brown.

Brown discovered that below the streets of Chattanooga lies a lost time with stairs leading to no where and doors opening into nothing. Old signs with peeling paint hang lopsided from the rotting ceilings as the old town attempts to hang on to what it once was.

With such a tragedy its not shocking that there have been numerous ghost sightings by visitors who find their way underground. From phantoms to ghost horses, it seems that the people of the past have not yet let go of their old way of life.

Stairs that go nowhere

Stairs that go nowhere (photographer unknown)

The Delta Queen a historic stern-wheel built in 1926  recently made Chattanooga her home and brought her ghosts along with her.

The Delta Queen has been  converted into a hotel since it docked in Chattanooga and has been entertaining guests ever since. However, some of those guests seem to have never checked out.

The best known of these is the ghost of Mary Greene, who is the main ghost on board but by far not the only one.

Mary B. Greene forbade drinking on the Delta Queen during her life there. However, after she died that policy changed and a bar was installed. Not long after, a barge crashed into the Delta Queen and destroyed the bar. The name of the barge was the Mary B, almost as if she was determined to keep her policy alive even after her death.

This photo shows what is believed to be the ghostly figure of Mary B. Greene standing in one of the lower deck windows. The inset picture shows a close up of the ghostly figure.

Ghost of Mary Greene on the Delta Queen

Ghost of Mary Greene on the Delta Queen(picture taken by Tamara Hancock 2010)

Chattanooga’s Read House hotel is another popular haunt for spirits of the past to hang around. It’s a popular stop on the Chattanooga ghost tours and many paranormal investigations.

The Read House’s history isn’t the happiest of ones. The original hotel that was built on the spot was in 1847 and called the Old Crutchfield house. In 1867 it was used as a hospital by the Union army and then burned down shortly after. Dr. John T. Read rebuilt the hotel after the old hotel was demolished in 1926.

Throughout its history many famous names have stayed there such as Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchhill.  One of the most famous names to have stayed, was Al Capone, who stayed in room 311 during his days in court where he was convicted.

Room 311 is the main source of the paranormal activity at the Read House as many who have stayed there have claimed to see ghostly shadows in the room or mirror and other unexplained happenings. There is no documented story of why there may be a ghost in that particular room but there are rumors of a young woman, who was either a prostitute or mistress who was brutally murdered there.

Sheraton Read House hotel

Sheraton Read House hotel

The most common occurrence of  paranormal activity is the appearance of orbs, said to be the manifestation of spirits. They usually appear to be balls of light caught on camera.

Chattanooga holds many past secrets and lives that refuse to let go and possibly live among us today.

Chattanooga Skatepark Unpopular with Older Patrons

By Molly Farrell

Chattanooga’s only skatepark leaves some visitors wanting an alternative. An indoor park is in the works to meet the needs of advanced skaters.  The new park offers thousands of feet of skating space and obstacles.

Chattanooga, Tenn. (UTC/ TheLoop) — Chattanooga boasts popular attractions like the aquarium and numerous hiking trails, but for skateboarding fans, the city is bleak.

In Chattanooga and the surrounding area there is only one skateboard park for visitors and residents. Deemed Chatt Town Skatepark, the site offers both a skatepark and roller hockey rink.

The park is run by the city of Chattanooga and features ramps and boxes for rollerbladers, skateboarders, and BMX riders.

Stephen Sherwood, a visitor of the park, is disappointed with Chattanooga’s slim offerings for skateboarding.  “You really only have a choice between the one skatepark or the street, and that’s really dangerous,” he says. ” They definitely need to build another one.”

Though the park is popular, its many rules and a costly entrance fee keep some from visiting more regularly.  Visitors must pay $8 to skate; the park does offer a $50 membership, but each visit costs an extra $2.

The park also requires a signed waiver for under 18 skaters, and a helmet must be worn at all times by all ages.

Stephen Sherwood, who is 20, thinks the helmet rule is unnecessary. “I’ve been to other parks that don’t make you pay a fee or wear a helmet. The feeling there is much more casual. Why should you have to wear a helmet if you’re over 18? I just don’t get it,” he says.

Plans for an indoor park in Chattanooga are in place under a popular rock climbing facility, 801 Riverfront. The park will offer 20,000 feet of ramps, bowls, boxes, and rails. Visit this website for more info.

Actors put on their scariest faces for this years Haunted Caverns

By: Corey Honeycutt

Chattanooga/Tenn.(UTC/LOOP)–October is the time of year when the leaves begin to change color, and the air is cooloer and crisper. However, it’s best known for that favorite holiday of kids, Halloween.

What better way to spend an evening than going from house to house asking for free candy and dressing up as your favorite super hero or villian. It’s a time of year when you get to be something you aren’t.

This is also the time when haunted houses and attractions go up each boasting to be scarier than the last. Patrons go through these haunts looking for the thrill that only  a haunted attraction can bring, but what goes in to these attractions to make them possible?

A well known haunt in Chattanooga is the Ruby Falls Haunted Caverns, that has been rated one of the best haunts in the Southeast for the past few years. This haunt is made up of around 75 actors ranging from ages 16 and up. The actors are only one part of this haunt that keep it running. Behind the scenes there are makeup artist, the creators and Ruby Falls staff that make it all possible.

Josh Philpott a student at UTC and veteran of the Haunted Caverns has been a slider there for the past few years. He started at the haunted caverns when he ran into Todd Patton at a halloween store and discovered that they had a similiar interest in making running a haunt.

“Todd introduced me to sliding and its a powerful scare tactic and I love doing it.”

Todd Patton has been doing haunts professionally for years and commutes between Chattanooga and Nashville to run the haunts he has there and here. Todd and Tim ? created the Haunted Caverns  five years ago and have been creating new  and scarier scenarios to take place in the Caverns ever since.

“I actually got into it because of charity and started my first charity haunt back in 1998.”

This years story is about a deadly disease that breaks out in the town Hannibal Hill called the Cerberus virus. The virus causes the infected to lose their sense of being and have a lust for human flesh. There are four stages of the virus. Infectids, Carrions and Scourges with the fourth being the most deadly, Sliders.

Guests will find themselves in a completely different world as they descend the 260 feet under ground and are ushered along by scientists and military who are only trying to get them out alive. Your only guiding light through this nightmare is the dull green glow of a single glow stick.

The Haunted Caverns will be scaring patrons every weekend from now until Halloween.