East Ridge Completes No Tax Increase Budget; Fairfield Inn Slated For $2.4 Million In Upgrades As It Joins Border Region

Saturday, June 25, 2022 - by Gail Perry

The budget for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2022 and ending June 30, 2023 for the city of East Ridge was passed on a final vote at the council meeting Thursday. There will be no property tax increase. The tax rate remains at $1.25 for every $100 of assessed value of property. The final budget amendment of the year was also passed, which cleaned up purchases made at the previous meeting.

 

Another business was approved for participating in the city’s retail Border Regional development district.

 KAH Hospitality, LLC is the new owner of the Fairfield Inn at 1453 Mack Smith Road. City Manager Chris Dorsey said the motel chain is going through rebranding and it has plans to make $2.4 million in upgrades to the East Ridge location on the condition it can benefit from being in the Border Region district. The city will have this designation until 2047 and at that time it is projected this hotel will have $3.9 million in annual sales. If the development performs as expected,  by 2047 it will produce $1.2 million in Border Region revenue generated over the life time of the program. The council approved for the developer to receive 70 percent of the Border Region allocation it generates, which will be about $800,000. The developer was given 18 months to complete the work.

 

The new Gateway Development, which borders the Red Wolves soccer stadium, will have multiple tenants. Because the buildings will be located 2,000 feet off the road, an off-premise sign is needed to guide people there. The multi-tenant LED sign will be placed at the corner of Mack Smith and Ringgold Road. The top portion will be static with Gateway Development displayed, but changes can be made to accommodate which tenants are located there and according to what they want to advertise. It can also be changed to help direct traffic flow to the stadium on game days.

 

The sign needed a conditional use permit for a sign variance because when the city’s sign ordinance was passed, there were no large multi-tenant developments coming to East Ridge. However, now there is a need to help promote and advertise businesses and yet maintain the reasons the sign ordinance was created.  The location requires that it is elevated nine feet so visibility for traffic will not be impeded. The council agreed to approve the variance on the condition that it meets all dimensions that were put on the application. The display area is not to exceed  21 feet high by 7.87 feet wide. Mounted on the support structure it will be 30 feet high. The council  was assured that it will have automatic dimmers, that images will have no movement and that there are limits to the colors of lights that can be used, all to prevent drivers from being distracted.

 

Also approved were bids from East Ridge Fast Lube and East Ridge Auto Electric for maintenance and repair services for the city’s fleet of vehicles. Chief Stan Allen said both of these businesses have been used in the past and that they were both the best of four bids that were received.

 

A motion that the council passed at the last meeting to spend $18,000 to clean up property at 711 State Line Road was put on hold upon recommendation from the East Ridge housing committee, which felt that since May the owner has made some improvements. The stay that will be in effect until Aug. 1 will give the owner an opportunity to bring his property into compliance with the city codes. The codes enforcement department will update the council at the August council meeting. The condition of the interior of the house has not yet been inspected but it was stated that there is a concern about safety.

 

In his report, City Manager Dorsey said that all the water and agility equipment has been installed in the city’s new dog park. Newly poured concrete is curing and the park will officially be opened this weekend. Paws in the Park will be held as an opening celebration that will be free to the community on July 9 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

 

Another new park feature at Pioneer Frontier Park is now up and running, he said, since all the kinks have been worked out at the Splash Pad.

 

Other updates from the city manager are that residential spot paving will be done once the bid document has been reviewed and bids received.

 

Mr. Dorsey congratulated Mike Flynn Sr., East Ridge Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief, upon his retirement.

 

Mayor Brian Williams and Police Chief Allen announced a community outreach event that has been planned but delayed due to COVID. It is now scheduled for July 21 for the police department to talk to community members about what the city is doing to control crime. Citizens can also ask questions to the officers.

 

East Ridge applied for the Tennessee American Environmental Grant in the spring and on Wednesday night accepted a check for $1,000 from the grant for use for keeping the creek clean at Camp Jordan. In September, the city will hold a volunteer day to help with bank abatement on the creek.


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