Ringgold, Catoosa eyeing courthouse streetscape
♦ Plans include making Maple and Jail streets one-way, new and revamped crosswalks, green spaces, and more parking.
Ringgold officials are discussing plans for a streetscape improvement project around the Catoosa County Courthouse and will now seek input from the county’s sheriff and Board of Commissioners.
The project was first presented to the public during Ringgold’s Nov. 12 City Council meeting, at which time Councilman Randall Franks presented first drawing of changes to the block surrounding the courthouse.
“The council is supporting this particular project that was brought to us through our visioning plan that the EDA (Economic Development Authority) and the Lyndhurst Foundation helped us with as part of the Downtown Development Authority’s overall plan,” Franks said.
Preliminary details of the plan include making Maple and Jail streets one-way, plus new and revamped crosswalks, green spaces, and more parking.
“This will make a tremendous improvement in the traffic flow around the courthouse,” Franks said. “We’ll be adding additional parking on all of these streets around the courthouse, with a tremendous amount of additional parking on Jail Street, as well as along Lafayette Street and on Maple Street.”
The parking along Nashville Street (U.S. 41) would remain essentially the same under the current first plan.
“That’s where were at,” Franks said. “I think our plan was to take this to the courthouse and allow the commissioners to review it as well as the sheriff’s office — let them give it a look to see what we’ve got in mind from our visioning plan.”
The council unanimously approved the initial design, and the motion included submitting it to the county for review.
City Manager Dan Wright said there could be changes made, and Mayor Pro Tem Terry Crawford said Maple Street becoming a one-way might be an area of concern for county officials because of the gas pumps that are frequented by county vehicles.
“I don’t think the county has signed off on which streets they want to make one-way,” Crawford said. “The Sheriff’s Department, plus some of the county … fuel all their vehicles right there and we need to check with them to see which one is most beneficial to them. If they need it the other way, we may have to change something.”
Franks added that initial discussions with Sheriff Gary Sisk left him feeling like the plan might be okay.
“The sheriff thought the design as described would be adequate for vehicles to get to the pumps and for deliveries,” Franks said. “Our engineer has told us that he has accommodated that in this plan, the space that’s needed.”
The plans will now be reviewed by the county, which has its next Board of Commissioner’s meeting slated for Tuesday, Dec. 4.
Mayor Nick Millwood said the main goal is to make the streets and walkways around the courthouse safer, more walkerfriendly, and to create more parking.
“I think a lot of people will appreciate the extra parking around the courthouse because that’s a big difference,” Millwood said.
Ringgold City Councilman Randall Franks discusses some of the early plans for a streetscape project.