Things have been moving fast in our fair city over the last month. I’ve been waiting for my head to stop spinning so I could, perhaps, put some of this in perspective.
_ City Manager Andrew Hyatt hopped on I-75 and took a job in Neptune Beach, Fla. We wish him well. The Council puts Mike in charge and they are in no hurry to find a permanent City Manager. Fire Chief Mike Williams is a neighbor and friend of mine. As Marc Gravitt said from the dais during the council meeting, “Heck, Mike runs into burning buildings for a living.” He will do whatever it takes to hold down the fort until we find someone else to permanently fill (the average tenure of a CM here is about two years) the post.
_ The Wolftever guys, aka Exit 1 LLC, made several appearances in City Hall over the last month. They told the Industrial Development Board that the road into the Jordan Crossing/Bass Pro Shops development must be improved. Not only that, the sewers in the area must be replaced. They appeared before Council and reiterated that information. Wolftever’s John Healy put a price tag on the road project of $2.8 million. He also made the statement that it should be the city’s responsibility to provide infrastructure for development.
I totally agree.
East Ridge, Hamilton County and TDOT could and should fund the Camp Jordan Parkway improvements. East Ridge and Hamilton County will benefit in the long run. It might hurt a little now, but as Healy pointed out, the local sales taxes generated from the 350,000-square foot shopping complex could generate as much as $1.6 million a year.
And Mayor Brent Lambert is spot on in his assessment of the road project. Never mind the development, East Ridge needs better access to Camp Jordan and all the activities that happen down there. The traffic, as it stands now, is pretty much a nightmare. Better roads mean less traffic hassles. (PERIOD, as Denny likes to say with much emphasis).
_ Here’s a good number: $1,474. That’s the amount The City spent to send three councilmen and three staff members to Bristol on an overnight trip to check out the new Bass Pro Shops there. That’s chump change in relation to other numbers flying around city government lately.
When East Ridge News Online first got wind that a field trip was in the offing, the news was that all the Council was going, along with the councilmen’s wives. One ballpark figure of the tab was five grand. Brent and Marc sat it out. And Denny got hot under the collar during last Thursday’s meeting because he somehow thought ERNO published an opinion piece saying that The City paid for his wife to go along.
This was published under the Opinion section of ERNO on July 9 in a column entitled Council Takes a Field Trip: “It is unclear if the wives of councilmen will be going along on this trip. However, I would bet Shirley Manning is along for the ride, because Denny goes nowhere without his better half.”
Never wrote that East Ridge picked up the tab for Shirley, Denny. (PERIOD)
Still haven’t heard what The City got for its $1,474 trip. Maybe at some point in the future we will be updated.
_ Culture came to Camp Jordan last Friday and Saturday night. Back Alley Productions put on two stagings of Billy Shakespeare’s The Tempest at Camp Jordan’s Amphitheater. Almost 30 people showed up on a beautiful Friday evening to take it all in, among them Brent Lambert and his young family.
Here’s another good number … ZERO. That’s how much it cost to watch the play and get cultured up, as it were. The only thing that would have made the production better is if the audience could have legally enjoyed a bottle of wine while Prospero, Miranda, Ariel and Ferdinand cast their spell on stage. I thought I saw someone sipping a libation out of a plastic wine glass. I could be wrong, however.
_ What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Four Marines and a sailor were murdered in Chattanooga by a homegrown extremist last week. We all mourned then pulled ourselves together.
ER Police Chief J.R. Reed warned the council that East Ridge is not immune to such violence. Chief Reed had been preparing to dispose of a whole stock-pile of confiscated weapons. As allowed by state law, the Chief said he wanted to do business with an area firearms dealer to swap those broken down Saturday Night Specials for ammo and five AR-15s.
The Chief wants all patrol officers to have “rifles” in their cars. To borrow Jim Bethune’s favorite phrase, “ABSOLUTELY.”
Our patrol officers never get the credit they deserve. Tip of the hat to the “boys in blue.” Now give ’em the firearms they deserve so they can go out into the streets and put their lives on the line and never have to worry about being “outgunned.”
_ On a personal note, got new neighbors fixing up the house next door to me, preparing to move in next month.
During last month’s windstorm, the top of a poplar tree blew out of the Old Berning Estate next door and took out the electrical service from the power lines. A man happens by who is in the electrical contracting businesses and offers to repair it. Turns out he’s looking for a place for his family. When he finds out the house is on the market he contacts the owner.
I know Ralph and Marjorie, God rest their souls, would have been overjoyed that another Presbyterian family will make the place they called home for 50 years, their own home.
And this family is not alone. Three others have recently moved in on Marlboro Avenue. Could it be that East Ridge has stopped the decline and once again become a desirable address?
_ Some knucklehead parked a stolen box truck on the railroad tracks on Martha Avenue, last week and a CSX train ran all over it. Mike Williams, wearing his Fire Chief hat, was on the scene. First responders put divers in the water looking for a possible dead knucklehead. The whole response was coordinated between CPD, CSX, Hamilton County Special Tactics and Rescue Service, ERPD and ER firefighters. Took all day.
A wringing wet Fire Chief went to shower and change into his City Manager hat at about noon. Mike didn’t miss a beat.