There will be “beer in the park” come the end of April.
The East Ridge City Council approved its first-ever temporary special events beer permit, Thursday night during its regular meeting at City Hall.
Tattanooga Tatto Expo will sell beer during its event in Camp Jordan Arena on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 20 thru April 22. During the same weekend Bugapalooza will be held and Harley-Davidson will have a Spring Fling in the parking lot near the arena on April 21.
City Manager Scott Miller said he and city staff spent considerable time reviewing the application and covering all the specifics with event organizers. He said the controls on the environment will be strict, with beer being consumed in plastic cups inside the arena only. The organizers will pick up the cost of security provided by the East Ridge Police Department at a cost of $2,800. Beer sales are being overseen by Big River Brewery, an organization that has a long history with the Riverbend Festival.
“We are fine, they are fine, everyone sees eye-to-eye on this,” Miller told the council.
Even Councilman Jacky Cagle – who fought the idea of special permit beer sales in Camp Jordan from beginning to end _ saw “eye-to-eye,” and voted along with rest of the council in favor of granting the permit.
“Even though I was against this, I’m willing to give it a try,” Cagle said.
The rezoning of two lots on Boyd Street had drawn considerable attention from both business and residential neighbors on the street. A small cadre of folks opposing rezoning the two lots at 1420 and 1422 from residential (R-1) to residential townhouse district (RT-2) addressed the council during a required public hearing.
Dan Crews, who has owned Industrial Heating Systems located on the street for 30 years _ brought photos taken this week illustrating drainage issues even during light to moderate rainfall. Crews said that over the years ditches on the street have been neglected which has contributed to the problem. He said that the city paved the street and created a crown in the middle and stormwater flows into adjacent yards and driveways.
“We got a mess and this will only add to the mess,” Crews said. “There’s no place to put the water.”
Kenny Custer, the city’s chief building official, acknowledged that drainage has been a problem on the street. He said the city is beginning to address some of the problems. He told the council the idea of building the townhouses – which was approved by the city’s planning commission – was to create a buffer between the commercial district of Ringgold Road and nearby established houses. Custer reminded the council that the developers of the proposed townhouses could build single family homes there without the city taking any action on the rezoning.
Councilman Cagle made a motion to table the rezoning until the city could determine costs to address the drainage issue. The rezoning was tabled by a vote of 4-1, with Councilman Larry Sewell voting against.
In other business, the council gave its blessing to allow City Manager Miller to dip into the reserve fund to start improvements in Camp Jordan Park. Miller already has been given the authority to move forward with borrowing $2.3 million for major improvements including new restrooms, a roof on the arena, and water and sewer lines. Miller said the money spent in the ensuing months would be reimbursed to the city from the money that he anticipates to borrow in the summer.
The counsel approved a bid from NABCO to upgrade electrical facilities at the baseball field at East Ridge Middle School. The athletic fields were taken over by the city some months ago. The bid is for $11,800.
The counsel gave its approval for the East Ridge Police Department to lease three Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The cost is $4,500 per year, per motorcycle for the next three years.
In a 3-2 vote – with Councilman Larry Sewell and Cagle voting no – the council approved a six percent pay raise for the city’s court clerk. The increase will be effective after the November 2018 election. The raise of $3,200 will bring the salary of the court clerk to $57,700. Going forward, the court clerk’s pay will be subject to cost-of-living increases like other city employees.
The council accepted a bid from Green Effects to mow the yards of people cited by Codes Enforcement for having high grass. Officials said Green Effects is charging by the square foot of area mowed and on an hourly basis. The city contracted with the company last year for the service. According to City Attorney Mark Litchford, the city will partner with the Hamilton County Clerk’s office to have property owners assessed the cost on their property tax bills at the end of the year.
City Manager Miller reminded citizens there will be a public input meeting concerning improvements to Pioneer Frontier playground and the construction of an adjacent splash pad on Monday, March 26 at the Community Center on Tombras Avenue. That meeting starts at 5″30 p.m.
Police Chief J.R. Reed recognized reserve officers Brad Grant and Loyd Chadwick for 25 years of service. Chief Reed presented both men with a service pin.