Moving Fire Station for Bass Pro Shop May Be Expensive for East Ridge

EAST RIDGE, TN. (WDEF-TV) – The city of East Ridge may have to come up with as much as 450-thousand dollars to keep its Bass Pro Shop project on schedule.
It turns out that removing the fire station from the Camp Jordan area triggered a 16 year old restriction on that property.
East Ridge leaders are considering their options.

In 1999, East Ridge bought the property to build a fare hall at Camp Jordan from TDOT. Under the agreement, the city paid 29% of the 175-thousand dollar cost, or about 50-thousand dollars. But there was a restriction that the property be used only for a fire station–nothing else. Now East Ridge will have to pay the other 71%.

MAYOR BRENT LAMBERT, EAST RIDGE "We were unaware of that restriction until after the Bass Pro announcement, after the incentive agreement had been reached. And TDOT called us and said you guys really need to take a look at this and get this restriction lifted."

But, the cost is no longer about 150-thousand to meet the stipulation. There has been a new appraisal on the property—its now worth 600-thousand dollars, which means a pay-off of almost 450-thousand dollars.

MAYOR BRENT LAMBERT "Its going to be substantially more than what the appraised value was in 1999. So we’re going to have to pay the remaining 71 percent of the current appraised value."

The city has a couple of options…one if which is to ask for the money from the state under the Border Region Act.

MAYOR LAMBERT "Anything we spend for economic development inside our border region district..technically we are eligible to be repaid by the state through the legislation."

That law was passed to encourage development near the state lines.
Lambert doesn’t want to do anything that will slow the project, including haggling over the money.

MAYOR LAMBERT "The Bass Pro shop project is on target…its on schedule….its nothing, no hic-ups, no hangups in that…we’re moving full speed ahead."

Mayor Lambert says the city recently sold some excess property for more than half a million dollars.
He says East Ridge can handle the higher cost, if necessary.
He’s still discussing it with TDOT.

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