We now know what will be going into the former Ooltewah Elementary School on Lee Highway. The school closed in 2013, and when a new school was built, the old building remained empty. Now a supermarket will go in its place.
The former Ooltewah Elementary School was empty for three years. Now Aldi Food Market will be the newest chain in the area.
What was once an elementary school, is now a construction zone. “Glad something is going to be there that the community will be able to use and benefit from,” said Hamilton County Commissioner Chester Bankston.
The Aldi Food Market sign officially went up this week, adding another grocery store to the area. “It will be a kind of different kind of food that they carry.”
But with more store options in Ooltewah, comes more traffic on Lee Highway. “The growth and businesses coming in, it is nothing but great for Hamilton County. We just got to make sure we up with infrastructure.”
For some- the possibility of more traffic is not a problem. “I'm glad it is coming for sure. I go to the other Aldi's so it is convenient for me,” said Star Affloter.
Others said it takes away from the natural beauty of an area that was largely undeveloped, not too many years ago. “None of this was here. None of it, all land and trees that was the main reason we moved here,” said Morgan Killingsworth.
Hamilton County Commissioner Chester Bankston said over the last 5 years there's been a steady increase of new businesses moving in. Residents certainly have more choices. “It's booming, traffic is increasing, and it is good to have restaurants besides fast food. Aldi's will be a plus for us,” said Affloter.
But with this growth, Bankston hopes plans are underway to develop safer roads. “Least get a turning lane, 4 lanes to the red light on both sides of the road so people don't sit so long,” said Bankston.
The Aldi Food Market is expected to open in mid-October.
Commissioner Bankston said the Old East Brainerd Elementary School may soon be sold. On Monday, leaders from District 7 and District 9 will host a zoning and development discussion at the Christ United Methodist Church at 6pm. The public is invited to attend.