East Ridge seeking final approval to take over high school athletic fields
The city of East Ridge and the Hamilton County Board of Education worked out a mutual agreement to transfer the school athletic facilities to East Ridge.
After going back and forth nine times with revisions to an agreement, the city of East Ridge and the Hamilton County Board of Education worked out a mutual agreement to transfer the school athletic facilities to East Ridge.
On Thursday, East Ridge City Council members voted unanimously to have the deed transferred to the city, take over management, control and provide improvements and maintenance to the facilities.
READ MORE | Construction underway at East Ridge stadium
East Ridge City Manager, Scott Miller said the city has been interested in taking over the facilities since October 2016.
Miller recently became the city manager in the past eight months. His past experience with parks and recreation has motivated him to help push for long overdue repairs.
"It's somewhat disheartening, because you've got some great facilities out here they just need a little TLC to put them in a playable condition for the students at the high school as well as the residents in the center part of the city," said Miller.
The athletic facilities haven't received needed maintenance for years, leaving them worn down, cracked and unlevel.
Last year the football stadium was condemned before it was later repaired by the district.
"Over the years we seem to [have] put all of our efforts on recreational facilities in the eastern part of the city, which everyone knows is Camp Jordan, and some of the concerns I've had expressed to me are 'why cant we get some of those facilities at this time'," said Miller.
The initial capital outlays will be $40,000, and between $55,000 to $58,000 annually. An employee from Camp Jordan will oversee the facilities.
"Our first priority will be to get the ball fields in order, the soccer fields the track and then at the same time get into the tennis courts. That's gonna be a contract we're not doing that in house," said Miller. "The [baseball] infields are pitted with weeds that need to be taken out. Then you got some of the outfield [with] what I call small pit holes that you wanna level out."
The repaired facilities would also be open to East Ridge residents.
Tim James, the head football coach at the high school, tells Channel 3 several coaches plan to host summer youth baseball, football and soccer camps. He said they will help generate substantial that could benefit the community.
The city will get the title contingent to certain conditions.
If the fields are not improved and made safe, the school board can take them back. The board could also sell the property, but in that case, the fields that East Ridge has improved must be constructed or replaced by the county with fields matching the quality at the time of the take-over.
But Miller and the East Ridge community hopes that won't be the case.
"They've got some big issues on their plates that they've been dealing with you know the bus situation that came up recently, and more priority items," Miller said. "Eventually we'll get this, hopefully put to bed."
The school board will vote on the transfer on Thursday. The Hamilton County Commission will also have to approve the transfer.