My great friend Marvin " Stump " Martin died way too soon. He left us a little more than a year ago but you can still see his influence all over the city of East Ridge, especially at Camp Jordan. Everyone knows that in the past year or so I have been pushing for a world class facility for youth baseball and softball tournaments in our area. Sure we have some great facilities in Chattanooga but as I've said time and time again other cities in the south have passed us by with wonderful super facilities to accommodate the thousands of youngsters who play select or travel ball.
Camp Jordan is getting close to becoming the facility I've been talking about all along. Before Stump took over as the Recreation Director for East Ridge, Camp Jordan was declining.
The many fields for baseball and softball were in need of refurbishing. So were the soccer fields and the restroom facilities were in bad need of a complete overhaul. Stump accomplished a great deal before he passed away in the summer of 2018 but through grants and hard work, a lot of the needed improvements have been made.
I attended a youth baseball tournament there about three weeks ago. It had been almost a year or so since I had been at Camp Jordan at all but when I pulled into the parking lot adjacent to a cluster of fields I was very pleasantly surprised at how much had been accomplished. The fields were in much better shape and after heavy rain overnight and a slow steady rain all that day, the fields were still playable. Now it was very muddy, but it never became dangerous or uncomfortable. We finished the one-day tournament and everyone at the park was talking about the many improvements.
In addition to the playing fields there is also an indoor arena and an outdoor stage that has been used for concerts on many occasions. Heck they even have a basic camping area for people who would rather sleep in their camper than stay in a motel.
Before I say any more, I will say there is still a lot of work yet to be done. While the restroom facilities are better they need more of them and the concession stands were also refurbished, they need more of them as well, perhaps a little closer or at least situated better. And there should be more handicap parking to serve the many " older " fans who attend.
Perhaps the biggest thing that Camp Jordan has going for it is the location. It's right off I-75 at exit one in East Ridge and it's close to several motels and many eating establishments. Location is always one of the real indicators of a successful facility and Camp Jordan is as good as any.
I am proud of what has been going on at Camp Jordan but as I mentioned, there is still a lot of work to be done. The folks at East Ridge should also be proud as well. I know my buddy Stump Martin would also be proud of what's transpired....very proud.
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Randy Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org