Collegedale Passes New Rec Rules; Considers Charging Ooltewah Residents To Use Library

  • Tuesday, April 2, 2024
  • Gail Perry

Collegedale Commissioners have formally approved an ordinance giving the city the right to regulate use of city owned recreational facilities. The new rules and regulations will be added to the Collegedale Municipal Code and will apply to parks, open spaces, recreational and natural areas and buildings. The one exception is areas leased to the Collegedale Tomorrow Foundation.

Regulations will include hours of operation, and it specifies dogs must be on a leash, any organization using a city owned property is responsible for clearing it of trash and debris, and no that there will be no parking outside of authorized hours. The rules also prohibit fireworks, projectiles devices, vending and advertising, alcoholic beverages, smoking, camping fires, swimming in the pond, and excessive noise. Additionally, there are rules specific to particular areas: the Greenway, the Pickleball courts and the Dog Park. Each violation will be subject to fines of not more than $50.

Residents of Collegedale have asked the commission to consider another change for the city owned recreational facilities including the library. Currently it is common for people living in Ooltewah to use the city’s facilities for no charge. Resident Debbie Alden suggested imposing a fee for those who live outside the city limits. She said there is opposition to citizens of Ooltewah getting the library use for free when citizens of Collegedale are paying for it with their taxes. To determine what that fee would be, the city would need to itemize each of the city services to know what residents actually pay for them and then charge non-residents a reasonable but higher fee.

“Residents of Ooltewah knew the city had no library when they chose to live there,” Ms. Alden said. The same should be true for parks and recreational facilities, and programs with a charge to attend, she said. "They need to pay if their taxes do pay for the services," suggested Ms. Alden.

Another topic of discussion at the Monday night commission meeting was about dangers on Swinyar Drive, where the Little Debbie Park has been so successful. With the success has come congestion and safety concerns for children and people parking and walking there. People who use Swinyar Drive adjacent to the park are asking for the speed limit to be lowered from the posted 25 m.p.h. Police Jack Sapp suggested lowering the speed to 15 m.p.h. for that area, and City Manager Wayon Hines will look into the possibility of installing speed bumps.

The commission proclaimed the week of April 14-20 as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week to honor the Hamilton County 9-11 Emergency Communications Center which is the first and most critical contact for citizens when they need emergency services.

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