East Ridge Council Makes Plans To Build Road To Gateway Development In 2 Phases

  • Sunday, September 17, 2023
  • Gail Perry

The city of East Ridge borrowed $10 million to build a road into the new Gateway development where the Red Wolves stadium anchors residential and commercial buildings. The city has been unable to acquire all the right-of-way that is needed to build the road as originally planned. At the last council meeting, the decision was made to move the road onto property the city already owns and make it three lanes leading into the development. When that design was reviewed by ASA Engineering, the city owned land would only be large enough to build a two-lane road and that would not support the traffic that is anticipated. A new plan was approved by the council at the Thursday night meeting, to build the road in two phases. It will be built as originally designed but Phase 2 will be built when right-of-way acquisitions are complete. City Manager Scott Miller said prices of materials and labor continue to increase, so the sooner it is built the better to avoid borrowing more money. 

A complete survey has been done of the city’s streets to determine the ones that are in the worst condition. That list is being used to prioritize the work. However in 2022-2023, only about 50 percent of the road resurfacing that had been planned was done because costs went up, said the city manager. The street resurfacing program for 2023-2024 is different than last year. Instead of repaving entire streets from end to end, only the segments of the roads where it is needed the most will be milled and resurfaced. The money will come from the State Street Aid fund with $1,778,000 available.

The city council approved a contract with the Department of Safety and Homeland Security for a grant to place school resource officers in each of the city’s public schools. This statewide SRO grant will provide up to $75,000 per year, per SRO, per school. The total contract with East Ridge is for $300,000. The East Ridge police officers that are moved into those positions will need to be replaced. A condition of receiving this grant is that the city must enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Hamilton County Department of Education that clearly defines the responsibilities and expectations concerning the SROs in the schools. 

The city council accepted other grants that have been rewarded to East Ridge, including one for three years, up to $190,762 from the Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice, Violent Crime Intervention Fund. It requires no matching funds from the city, and will be used to purchase equipment and technology to combat violent crime. Among other things, a drone and a van with a TV monitor to use as a command post for the drone will be acquired. Chief Clint Uselton said that this will put eyes on things without putting officers at risk and can be used by the fire department to go into buildings after a fire to check for hot spots. 

Other grants the city received include the Tennessee American Water Firefighter Support Grant in the amount of $1,000. It will assist in purchasing swift water gear to replace old worn gear. The city has applied for another grant from the state that would provide up to $40,000 per year for the next five years to aid in recruitment and retention of police officers.

In the past the city stored data on the Hamilton County Sheriff’s records management system. The city now has their own records system but in order to have access to the historical information stored with the Sheriff’s Office, the city will pay $5,128 for one year. 

Property at 0 Spring Creek Road, behind the AMC Movie Theater, has been a homeless camp with large amounts of trash, debris and junk that has accumulated over the years. The city has no one to contact physically and gets no response to when citations are sent and the building and codes department has determined the property poses a threat to the general public. The city has gotten a bid for $44,900 and will proceed to clean it up. A lien will be placed on the property for the amount that the city spends. 

A settlement agreement has been made with Chetan Patel regarding the city’s condemnation of property at 1500 Keeble St. which would have demolished the structure there. The owner has agreed to bring the property into full compliance with all building and property maintenance requirements. And he has to provide a remediation plan of phased improvements. The structure will also have to have an electrical inspection and meet those requirements. If the needed repairs are not made, the owner will have to go back before the judge, and pay a $50 per day fine.  

The city has been asked, many times, to waive fees for use of facilities that East Ridge owns. In the future, the approval for a fee waiver will be available only for non-profit organizations that provide a legitimate service and/or benefit to the East Ridge community, for department sponsored programs, from intergovernmental cooperation or for financial hardship, for one-time events. Any waiver will need to be approved by the city council. 

On the final vote, parking requirements for hotels/motels in the commercial tourism district, general commercial district and the planed commerce center in East Ridge were amended. The change is a reduction of parking spaces needed to just one space per room.

Two properties in the city have been rezoned from single family residential, R-1 to R-3 district that allows apartments. Property at 636 and 650 Layfield Road is now R-3 and 1026 Green Lake Road was also zoned R-3. The quadplex located there will be improved and brought up to code. 

Mayor Brian Williams announced that the East Ridge Fall Festival will be Saturday, Oct. 7, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. There will be live music, art and craft vendors and food trucks, a petting zoo and children’s activities. The mayor also requests for East Ridge citizens to participate in the Parks and Recreation master plan survey that can be found on the city’s website. 

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