A public hearing in East Ridge concerning a park planned for the old pool property was held Thursday night before the council meeting. Based on previous discussions, preliminary planning has been started for the best use of the property on Monroe Street. Six tennis courts that were on the site have been taken up and the materials will be ground to use as fill for the pool.
Stump Martin, director of parks and recreation, said the courts were beyond repair. Grassy spaces are planned to replace them and the area above the swimming pool.
A play park for small children and a workout park surrounded with a quarter mile walking path are in the plans, along with a large dog park. And there will be a pre-fabricated restroom.The entire property will be surrounded by a running track, according to the plans.
The city is preparing to apply for a 50/50 matching Local Parks and Recreation state grant with a cap of $500,000. Conditions for making the grant application require three public meetings. The second one is scheduled for Tuesday at 9 a.m. and a public forum on Facebook, where people can make comments and suggestions will count as the third meeting.
At the regularly scheduled council meeting, Mayor Brent Lambert said he is in favor of something recreational at the new park, but questioned putting another playground in such close proximity to the existing and much-used Pioneer Frontier Park. This comment started a conversation that led to revamping the plans. Councilman Larry Sewell said the city needs places for older kids to go and suggested putting in a basketball court. Vice Mayor Jim Bethune then suggested the addition of tennis courts and shuffleboard to share the area with a dog park, in addition to a basketball court. Another benefit of building these facilities, he noted, was that this should keep the older kids away from Pioneer Frontier.
Mr. Martin told the councilmen that a basketball court with a pole barn roof would not be expensive and could be used in all weather. He said it would be one of the best things that could be done. He has also had requests for tennis courts, which the city does not have. The discussion ended with all the council excited and in agreement. Mr. Martin told council members that all the good ideas coming from the discussion may help get the grant.
In his report to the council, City Manager Andrew Hyatt said he had been following up a proposal by the Army Corp of Engineers by attempting to find funding to help the city with a flood control study. The decision of whether to do the study was postponed until more information is collected.
Instead of replacing and trying to repair old underground fuel storage tanks and pumps, East Ridge is considering a contract to supply fuel for city vehicles from an outside supplier. A discussion of an arrangement with Mapco, and specifically the station on Ringgold Road near I-75, ensued. The city would receive a lower price for gasoline and it would be tax exempt. Purchases would be linked to the particular vehicle and the driver, and could be tracked online. This is an excellent tracking system, Mr. Hyatt told the council. A vote was put off until the next commission meeting to allow time for City Attorney Hal North to write a resolution.
A vote on a resolution to contract with TDOT for resurfacing McBrien Road to South Terrace was approved. The portion of the cost that East Ridge will be responsible for will come from the State Street Aid Fund.
The council also voted to change the city charter referendum to the November ballot which will have a higher turnout than the August election where it was originally scheduled.
A vote to create the position of city treasurer passed on second reading. Two additional members were named to the city’s Industrial Development Board, Eddie Phillips and Estes Cocke.
The director of parks and recreation presented to the council three members of the East Ridge Soccer team that are in the Olympic Development Program. In competition in Nashville, Cynthia Veneble, Alyssa Levritt and Lane Lawrence have made it “three steps away from the Olympics,” said Mr. Martin. They will all be given a proclamation from the city for what they have accomplished.