Four Chattanooga area select soccer clubs - Chattanooga Football Club, North River, Redoubt and East Ridge - have joined to form a single organization.
Officials said this move will allow the unified club to better compete regionally since all the best players will be together. The new association would like to use the facilities at Camp Jordan in East Ridge to practice and play. Officials with the group brought a proposal to Parks and Recreation Director Stump Martin for a three-year lease with an option for three more.
Some of the teams have already been using the fields in East Ridge and last year paid the city $100 for every child that was registered, totaling $21,000. The new offer would pay the city $40,000 yearly to lease the property plus $15,000 for yearly maintenance, which would be an increase of $35,000 over the amount paid in 2013.
Additionally, the goal is to have four select soccer tournaments, each expected to bring 1,500-2,000 out of town people that will spend money in East Ridge. The city also receives 33 percent of concession sales at the park. Mr. Martin told the East Ridge City Council members that with that much of an economic impact for East Ridge, he wanted them to make the decision.
Twice in past years, renting the park to soccer clubs ended with monetary loses for the city which caused some council members trepidation over this new proposition. Mayor Brent Lambert, however, commented that the extra money the city would receive could be used to grow East Ridge’s own recreational leagues, adding that he saw no downside. He suggested voting on the matter at a special budget meeting that is scheduled for May 1.