East Ridge makes Camp Jordan off limits to some
EAST RIDGE, TN (WRCB) -- There's a battle brewing between a long time community sports league and the city of East Ridge. It's all over the use of a public park that's off limits to some.
Camp Jordan has been home to the East Ridge Soccer Association for years, but now it's not allowed on the property. The city recently voted to take the area over with a new parks and recreation department, but not everyone is on board with the plan.
The field is desolate this weekend with no soccer players in sight. While the sign reads East Ridge Soccer Association, it's no longer allowed to play at Camp Jordan. That word comes from East Ridge City Manager Tim Gobble who couldn't do an interview Sunday, but showed Channel 3 nearly 20 emails between the city and ERSA regarding the new direction.
In one of them, the city explains the new parks and recreation department, saying it will now be the governing body for all of the Camp Jordan facilities and will use city funds to operate. It goes on to invite the soccer association to partner with them. Members can apply to be on the new board.
ERSA declined the offer, though, saying it should be able to continue using the area as it has been since it is a public park. One ERSA director we spoke with off camera tells Channel 3 attorneys are getting involved to handle contract issues.
As for ERSA's equipment, it's staying locked up at Camp Jordan. The city manager says it was bought with money generated on city property, so the city is keeping it.
The city wants to stress there will still be soccer tournaments there for those who want to sign up, but some community members say it's not fair to the kids who've been apart of ERSA all along.
"The kids are the ones that's going to pay the price for it. It's all political. All the politicians in East Ridge want to do this and the kids are going to pay the price," Steve Tucker said.
East Ridge plans to name the new athletic advisory boards this week.
We were unable to contact the ERSA board president for comment. We did learn a tournament that was already scheduled will be allowed to take place at the indoor arena next month.
The city says it was able to work out agreements with the baseball and softball leagues.