On Thursday, the East Ridge City Council passed on first reading an ordinance that would rezone a large tract of property east of Spring Creek Road, paving the way for construction of a soccer stadium and commercial district.
There was little discussion on the issue that last week cleared the hurdle of the city’s planning commission. The council will take up the issue in the June 27 meeting where a public meeting will be held.
Bob Martino, the owner of the United Soccer League’s Chattanooga Red Wolves SC, unveiled plans in early April to build a 5,500 seat soccer stadium for the team. The stadium will be the centerpiece of a multi-use development that would include retail stores, restaurants, a convention center, a hotel, and condominiums/apartments.
During the June 3 planning commission meeting, some citizens voiced opposition to the rezoning the 60-acre property which is in a low-lying area north of Lansdale Park. Those who opposed the rezoning raised concerns over potential flooding, traffic congestion and access to the site, and the destruction of wetlands.
Jeff Sikes, who is an associate of the engineering firm Martino hired for the project, told the planning commission earlier in the month that the site is “challenging.” He said the design plan is in the process of being reviewed by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The $125 million project would represent the largest investment in the history of East Ridge, officials have said. It would create more than a thousand jobs and potentially generate as much as $7 million in additional tax revenue for the city.
In other business, the council passed on first reading the $13.8 million 2019-20 budget. The budget includes $646,000 from the surplus fund that will be used to build a splash pad at Pioneer Frontier and provide matching funds for a state grant for improvements along the east end of Ringgold Road.
The council voted in favor of granting a variance allowing a 53-foot pylon sign to be built in Jordan Crossing. Councilman Jacky Cagle said that the council had rejected a similar request in the past. Cagle was the lone dissenting vote.