published Friday, April 4th, 2014

Plan for new East Ridge park moves forward

East Ridge city works employee Wayne Meeks uses a backhoe while working to convert the former city pool into a park.
East Ridge city works employee Wayne Meeks uses a backhoe while working to convert the former city pool into a park.
Photo by Dan Henry.

East Ridge is filling in the old Youth Foundation pool in anticipation of creating a new park or green space there.

City workers have taken down the old tennis courts and drilled holes in the bottom of the pool to make sure it doesn't hold water anymore, said Norman Branum, supervisor of the East Ridge Street Department. Asphalt from beneath the tennis courts is being ground up to fill the pool, and workers are using jackhammers to break up the concrete slab surrounding the pool for more fill material.

"Weather permitting, and if the equipment holds up and everything, I'd say we may be up there for two weeks," Branum said.

Once the fill work is done, the street department could be involved in helping dress the property up with topsoil, cutting down trees, grading the edges of the property, clearing brush from the fence and creating a walking track. However, the city will have to wait to see if it has received a local parks and recreation grant from the state before moving forward from there, Branum said.

Planned for the location are four tennis courts, a full-size concrete basketball court, restrooms, a dog park, a picnic area with tables, a lot of green space and the walking track, East Ridge Parks and Recreation Director Stump Martin said.

Martin said he had originally sought a playground and adult workout park to be built together at Camp Jordan. However, the council decided that it would be better to upgrade the swimming pool property that wasn't being used.

"I didn't think to put it there, but I think the council made a wise choice," Martin said.

Although a lot of what the city has planned will be contingent on whether East Ridge receives the grant, the city is "moving forward" to finish the park if it gets the grant, Martin said.

If the city doesn't get the grant, what happens next on that property would be up to the council, Martin said. The grant is for $200,000, and requires that the city match it at 50 percent.

"I would hope we would go on forward with that $100,000 and do as much as we can toward making that park nice," Martin said.

And, while city residents already have Camp Jordan, it is on one side of the city, and a new park would "provide an alternative" for kids or seniors in the surrounding area who may wish to walk to the park, Martin said.

The city should know the status of the highly competitive grant by the end of June or July, said Amanda Miller, the administrative assistant for East Ridge city government.

The city acquired the property, which is 5.6 acres, from the East Ridge Youth Foundation in 2010, according to Hamilton County property records.

Contact staff writer Alex Harris at aharris@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592.

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