East Ridge Making Improvements To Camp Jordan, Adding Other Parks Throughout City

Friday, January 12, 2018 - by Gail Perry

East Ridge is in the process of implementing a new plan for city parks that was created with input from citizens. Instead of putting all parks resources at Camp Jordan, they are being spread out to other parks throughout the city. Already in works, said City Manager Scott Miller at the city council meeting Thursday night, are upgrades to Pioneer Park behind city hall, including adding a splash pad, a multi-purpose field and a pavilion. The city is also planning a two- to three-acre dog park and looking for land in the western end of the city to establish a totally new park.

Last year East Ridge acquired the fields and track at East Ridge High and Middle Schools, and money has been budgeted to build tennis courts there.


The latest phase includes upgrades for Camp Jordan Park that was built 40 years ago. Parks and Recreation Director Stump Martin said that the plan includes some new “drop-in” restrooms and concession stands, new green fencing in some areas and replacing old fencing to match the new for a uniform appearance. Roofing or canopies will be added to provide shade for spectators. New trash and recycle receptacles will be added and old concrete bleachers will be removed. New signs will be added and old ones replaced, all in the green and white scheme for uniformity. Sod will be replaced on some fields and some new paving will be done. Certain old structures will be faced with siding that has the appearance of stone, the arena roof will be repaired and a pond with a solar windmill for aeration will be built among other things that are needed to refresh the park and that will help Mr. Martin market it.


The work at Camp Jordan will be financed with hotel/motel taxes. The council voted to approve the start of work to make these improvements and limited the cost not to exceed $2.3 million.


Soon after the concrete floor of the new fire station was poured and cured, shrinkage and cracking in the engine bay floor slab was discovered and the sealer disintegrated. Repairs were made by filling cracks with epoxy filler, but the city manager said he still has concerns over the structural integrity in the future. A settlement agreement was written by City Attorney Mark Litchford to help protect the city’s interests. The council voted to approve the agreement between East Ridge and J&J Contractors and River Street Architecture. The negotiated agreement includes quarterly monitoring by the architects throughout the one-year warranty period and a full inspection by all parties for three and a half years after the date of completion. The city can  bring a lawsuit if the floor’s integrity fails during that time.


Discussion took place concerning police and fire services that East Ridge provides to the city of Ridgeside. Ridgeside pays close to $66,000 for police services and almost $30,000 for fire services each year. In the latest figures available, Mr. Miller said that in 2017, response was made to 21 fire calls, and 13 of those were for EMS. In 2016, police had 136 calls from Ridgeside, and patrolled at a minimum of twice per shift. The council voted that Ridgeside must use both services from East Ridge or none. The price that Ridgeside has been paying was negotiated in 2009, and since then, said the city manager, prices have risen. A proposal to increase rates by 30 percent has been proposed. Mayor of Ridgeside Janet Jobe said that these two services make up one third of her city’s budget and that a 30 percent increase is too much for the little town of just 158 homes. Mr. Miller said that East Ridge will consider counter offers. Their contract is active until the end of June.


The council vote to accept two donations, including one for the Fire Department from Tennessee American Water for $500 which will be used for safety equipment, said Fire Chief Mike Williams. A check for $1,000 from Susan and Mike Perruso was given to the city for use at the East Ridge Animal Services department. That money will allow the shelter to spay and neuter 20 animals. The Perrusos also have a duck rescue and care for and rehabilitate the ducks at Camp Jordan when needed.


A vote approved an application for the 2018 Community Developoment Block Grant regarding slums and blight removal. One third of the land in the city limits of East Ridge is in the 100-year flood plain and has experienced flooding multiple times. This grant would be used to buy houses in the flood plain and relocate people.

Another grant application that will be made is for the Coretta Scott King Books Grant Program. It would provide a variety of books by African American authors and subjects depicting African American characters.

On second reading, the council voted for an ordinance that authorizes electronic citations to be filed in court, along with a fee to recover costs associated with electronic citations.

Property at 1403 Sewanee Dr. has always been used for a single-family home, but had inadvertently been zoned C-2 many years ago. The council voted to change the zoning designation to match the use and revised the zoning to R-1 Residential District.

The East Ridge city code regarding the creation and membership of the city’s planning commission was revised Thursday night. The planning commission will consist of five members. Two will be the mayor, or someone designated by the mayor, plus another city council member. The other three members will be appointed by the mayor.

A sponsorship/advertising agreement was given approval with Dick’s Sporting Goods for their sponsorship of youth sports programs at Camp Jordan Park. Mr. Martin said the city has had this same arrangement for the past four years. In return for advertising capabilities at Camp Jordan Park, Dick’s gives not only cash for the park programs but also equipment, balls, soccer pinnies and T-shirts among other items the department uses.




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