Fort Oglethorpe To Consider Hiring Development Director As Chickamauga Battle Anniversary Approaches

Monday, February 18, 2013 - by Mike O’Neal

Fort Oglethorpe soon could have its first-ever paid director of the city’s downtown development authority.

 

During their monthly meeting Monday, the city's Downtown Development Authority (DDA) trustees agreed that the city council should consider hiring someone to oversee projects and write grant proposals for the historic district.

 

“We’ve got to do something or Ringgold will eat our lunch,” board member Ron Davis said, before making a motion that the request be placed before the city council.

 

Mayor Lynn Long, who attended the DDA meeting as a guest, said the idea of having someone working full-time to recruit new businesses, support existing ones and promote the city has been discussed in the past — it is nothing new.

 

But now, Mayor Long said it is critical that the city move forward.

 

“This would be a paid position,” the mayor said.

 

City Councilman and DDA board member Louis Hamm will have the request for hiring a DDA director placed on the city council’s agenda for next Monday.

 

“That director could be a grant writer for the entire city,” he said. “As a city employee, he would be responsible to the city manager.”

 

DDA Board Chairman Jeff Epperson suggested asking for up to $40,000 a year to be allocated to hiring a director, one that work a specified number of hours for the DDA.

 

“We will ask for a full-time employee,” he said.

 

With as many as 200,000 expected to attend events related to the 150th commemoration of the Battle of Chickamauga that is scheduled for September, having a director to oversee marketing efforts and promotions would be beneficial, the board agreed.

 

The DDA members also were unanimous in an immediate need to install banners and signs to welcome travelers who will be attending events at the Chickamauga National Military Park and reenactments of the battle held in nearby McLemore’s Cove, and attract them to the city’s historic district.

 

Board member Harold Silcox presented a mock-up of a design that could be used for fabric banners, signs or posters advertising the city’s historic district — that stretch of LaFayette Road that extends from Battlefield Parkway to the entrance of the battlefield.

 

“A DDA director could oversee such a project,” he said.

 

While much of the evening’s discussion centered on promotion of the city’s historic past, board member Derek Rogers posed the question, “What do we have to offer?”

 

The DDA has been involved for nearly a year in an urban renewal plan, REFRESH Fort Oglethorpe, and an accompanying Opportunity Zone.

 

If implemented, REFRESH would totally revamp the aesthetics and commercial appeal of the historic district while Opportunity Zone designation would offer serious tax incentives to businesses that open or expand within its boundaries.

 

Mr. Rogers was told both plans are being burnished before being presented first to the city council and then to state’s Department of Community Affairs.

 

Mr. Epperson advised the board that both plans must be submitted to the state before the end of March if there is any hope of their approval.

 

moneal2480@comcast.net


Woman's Body Found Floating In Hiwassee River

A woman's body was spotted floating in the Hiwassee River in Polk County on Saturday afternoon. Crews said it appeared the woman had been dead for some time. The 911 call came in shortly before 4:30 p.m.. The TBI was called in to help in the investigation. The body has not yet been identified.. (click for more)

Woman Whose Car Landed On Tracks Below Wilcox Boulevard Viaduct Sues City

A woman whose car went off the Wilcox Boulevard Viaduct and landed on railroad tracks below has sued the city of Chattanooga. Rebecca Thomas-Winkler said the bridge is in poor and substandard condition and the guard rail was inadequate.  The suit says on Aug. 24, 2013, Ms. Winkler was traveling east on Wilcox Boulevard at about 12:30 p.m. She was crossing the bridge that ... (click for more)

Better Plan For Walnut Street Hotel

Mitch Patel and his Vision Hospitality Group have unveiled a revised plan for a hotel on Walnut Street. It is much better than the one proposed two years ago. By having no curb cuts on Walnut Street, it makes that special block near the bridge more inviting and safer for pedestrians. Deliveries would be off Riverfront Parkway and hotel access (valet parking) would be off Aquarium ... (click for more)

Thanks For Making The Southern Brewers Festival A Success

Now that the dust has settled I'd like to thank Chattanooga for supporting the Southern Brewers Festival and making it yet another very successful event.    For those who do not know - the SBF benefits the Chattanooga chapter of Kids on the Block and the Chattanooga Community Kitchen.  As a partner helping the SBF with volunteers, sponsorships and the overall production ... (click for more)

Ex-Ooltewah All-American Jacques Smith released By Falcons

Former Ooltewah Owls All-American and Tennessee Vols defensive standout Jacques Smith has been released by the Atlanta Falcons, who are 10 cuts from reaching their 53-man roster for the 2014 season. Wide receiver Jeremy Ebert and tight end Mickey Shuler were also released. Smith, an undrafted free agent, is said to be a "viable candidate" for the Falcons' practice squad ... (click for more)

Baylor Comeback Swamps Webb, 34-7

Baylor lost a fumble on the third play of the game and the visiting Webb Spartans scored five plays later, but the Red Raiders came storming back to win their second-straight game, 34-7, over the D-II, Class A two-time defending state champions. Quarterback Nick Tiano, who has already committed to Mississippi State, hurled two touchdown passes and scored a third on a sneak from ... (click for more)