In Close Vote, East Ridge City Council Approves Allowing Unified Select Soccer Teams To Use Camp Jordan Park

Thursday, May 01, 2014
Matt Yelton, Andrew Hyatt and Stump Martin
Matt Yelton, Andrew Hyatt and Stump Martin

The East Ridge City Council, despite some reluctance and a host of questions, on Thursday night voted to give a one-year lease with an option for a second year to four Chattanooga area select soccer clubs - Chattanooga Football Club, North River, Redoubt and East Ridge - that have joined to form a single organization.  

Councilman Denny Manning was opposed, and Vice Mayor Jim Bethune initially passed. However, the lease was approved by Mayor Brent Lambert and Councilmen Larry Sewell and Marc Gravitt following a lengthy discussion.

Council members said they wanted another week until the next regular meeting when Attorney Hal North could be present, but Matt Yelton, who is heading up the combined select club, said, "Another week is a week we can't lose in the planning stage."

Councilman Gravitt said some East Ridge citizens are strongly against the lease, but he said, "This is only for one year. If it doesn't work out, we don't have to do it anymore."

However, Jack Skelton said Chattanooga Football Club has the option to continue after a year, but East Ridge does not have the option of ending it if the club has lived up to all the terms.

Mr. Skelton told the council that the group had other options for a main field and would pursue them if the council balked. 

The council is told the city will make $34,000 more than it now does from select soccer - from $21,000 to $55,000.

Mr. Yelton said with the infusion of select players, there will still be room for recreation league soccer players as well.

Council members several times spoke of a bad experience with a similar lease earlier that ended when the East Ridge Soccer Association carried off much of the soccer equipment amid a bitter parting. Stump Martin, recreation director, said he inherited that ill feeling, and it was one of the toughest years of his career.

But he said he has been proud that a new and successful soccer program has been built at Camp Jordan over the past three years.

He said he felt that having the select program at East Ridge would help with the recreation program.

City Manager Andrew Hyatt said he had a preference for recreational soccer, saying some cannot afford the $600 required of select soccer. But he said it was a plus that the group dropped the request for a three-year lease to one year.

One of the pluses is that  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, he noted.

The city also receives 33 percent of concession sales at the park.

The select program is set to start May 1 using five fields at Camp Jordan.

Yelton will serve as director of coaching. He had been running the East Ridge Football Club and is the head coach at Lee University. 

CFC Academy will hold tryouts during the first week of June at Finley Stadium, Redoubt, Camp Jordan and North River Soccer complexes.  

Ensworth Ranked No. 1 In Divison II-AA

If the 11 head coaches in Division II-AA know anything about their classification, this year’s BlueCross Bowl Division II-AA game will involve two midstate teams – Ensworth and Brentwood Academy. Both should field great teams but whether they both reach the finals has a lot to do with how the brackets are drawn up. Only time will tell what happens here. Here’s how Division ... (click for more)

Caballero Tops Stolz In Match Play Final

KNOXVILLE -- Brendon Caballero defeated Chattanooga's Zac Stolz, 2 and 1, in the final of the 11th Tennessee Match Play Championship at the Holston Hills Country Club. Caballero, from Brentwood, beat Michael Monroe, 4 and 3, in a semifinal. Stolz advanced to the final with a 4 and 3 win over Matt Cooper. In he Senior Division, Tony Green defeated Tim Jackson, 1 up. (click for more)

Harr Outlines $40 Million Plan For Chattanooga Light Rail System

Outgoing Chamber of Commerce President Ron Harr on Monday outlined a $40 million plan for a Chattanooga light rail system that would serve not only downtown, but also the Airport and the Enterprise South Industrial Park. In a speech to the Chattanooga Engineers Club, Mr. Harr said most cities looking at such an ambitious plan "would be facing costs of over a billion dollars." ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Choo Choo Adding Clubs, Restaurants In $7 Million Renovation

The historic Chattanooga Choo Choo is adding clubs and restaurants in a $7 million renovation, it was announced in front of the South Market Street landmark on Monday morning. The Comedy Catch will be moving from its longtime home in Brainerd and there will be a new 500-person music venue that will be in addition to Track 29. The new venue, managed by Track 29, will feature a ... (click for more)

An Open Letter To Tennesseans

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a state in which companies worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence. Many attribute it to our pro-business culture, well-prepared workforce, low tax environment, right-to-work policies, and engaged citizenry.  That is why the announcement by Volkswagen to build its midsize sports utility vehicle and establish the South’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Our’ American Minute

William J. Federer is one of the leading historians in the United States and every morning I am among thousands of people who get an entertaining email from him called the “American Minute.” I adore it because Bill takes a significant event in American history that happened long ago – but he remembers on the very anniversary of when it occurred. A great example is that last Thursday ... (click for more)