East Ridge Back On Track For Community Pavilion

  • Monday, October 2, 2023

In April 2018 the city of East Ridge discussed building a pavilion for community use and had engaged Hefferlin + Kronenberg Architects for design and development. That year, priorities shifted and a new animal shelter became a higher priority so the pavilion project was put on hold. At the Thursday night council meeting, City Manager Scott Miller requested that the city council authorize the re-activation of the architectural agreement. There are decisions about where to put it and what the city now wants to include in the building before giving the project back to the architect. The council members approved the recommendations made by Mr. Miller, roughly based on a similar pavilion in Collegedale.

Most of the discussions centered around where it should be built. The two locations being considered are a grassy area behind the East Ridge Community Center or on the property of the permanently closed McBrien Elementary School. Recommendations for the structure include that it will be a 10,000 square foot open-air building that could seat around 500 with around 160 parking spaces. Decisions will be needed about whether to include bathrooms, a full kitchen, and a fireplace. He said the large garage doors would make it open air, but it would be more usable in hot weather if air conditioning was added. Mr. Miller also suggested it be heated so it will be usable in the winter. Another item that could be included is pavement around the building so it could be used for a farmer’s market. The vote was unanimous to move forward with the architect.

The city manager also announced a special called meeting of the council on Oct. 5 at 6 p.m. when there will be a presentation from three firms about conducting a sports feasibility study for the potential expansion or enhancement of inside and outside facilities at Camp Jordan. He said that night there will only be discussion but no decisions will be made.

East Ridge solicited bids this summer and in two rounds only received one bid for renovating the city’s baseball and softball fields. Approval was given at the council meeting to spend $24,595 for the work, which is in this year’s budget.

The council voted to accept a grant from the Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Program Violent Crime Intervention Fund. The grant will be used to buy 14-15 license plate tag readers to add to the four that are already in East Ridge. The cameras will belong to East Ridge and for the first three years, software and maintenance will be included with the grant money, but after the initial three years, the city will be responsible for maintenance.

The council also accepted a Public Safety Partners grant from the Public Entity Partners, the city’s insurer. It is a $6,000 grant with a match of 50 percent, or $3,000, that the city will have to contribute. This grant will supply new turnout gear for the new firefighters recently hired by East Ridge.

Paving McBrien Road from Ringgold Road to Anderson Avenue was sent out for bids. When they were opened in August, just one had been received. It came from Talley Construction. The city council has approved the amount of $488,566 and a contract with Talley to do the work. The bridge over I-24 at McBrien is being replaced and, when that work is complete, the city of East Ridge will continue paving McBrien all the way to South Terrace.

The work being done on the multi-modal project along Ringgold Road was due to be finished by May this year, but a change order has been received from ASA Engineering as the result of delays by Tally due to utility conflicts. These conflicts should have been resolved prior to construction and the city has documentation on what has happened, it was stated. East Ridge expects to be able to recover 90 percent of the requested overages.

The lease with Southeast Tower, Inc. for the cell tower behind the East Ridge Fire Department was originally signed in 2001 for a period of 25 years and included the option of extensions. The owner of the tower, SBA, has asked the city to renew it now. The city agreed to the request and will receive a one-time payment of $30,000 for the early renewal. In the new agreement the city will also get a 20 percent increase in rental fees starting in 2031 and after 2032 the lease amount will increase by three percent each year. The proposal looks good, compared to tower leases with other municipalities, said Mr. Miller.

East Ridge received three bids from companies seeking to become the city’s official sign consultant and contractor. Of those, Ortwein Sign was chosen. The city itself has the capability to make small signs such as street signs, but not large ones. The first signs that will be designed and installed by Ortwein are four “Welcome to East Ridge” signs entering the city on the interstate coming from Georgia, on Ringgold Road coming from the Bachman Tunnel and the off-ramps at north and south Ringold Road at I-75.

And a new traffic signal cabinet will be bought to control the intersection of John Ross Lane and Bennett Road. The total cost will be $14,816, which was included in the current budget.

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