Church Street one way

Ringgold officials are considering making Church Street a one-way street moving forward after erecting new fencing around the historic cemetery at the corner of Church and Lafayette streets. The City Council will hold three public hearings on the matter beginning Oct. 28.

A newly added fence around a historic cemetery in Ringgold has created visibility issues for motorists, prompting officials to consider making Church Street a one-way road.

Ringgold’s Parks and Recreation Department recently erected a new fence with an arched gate around the historic cemetery at the corner of Lafayette Street and Church Street in order to enhance pedestrian access to the location.

During the past two City Council meetings, Mayor Pro Tem Terry Crawford has pointed out that some residents who travel Church Street often are claiming the fence obstructs their view when they attempt to turn onto Lafayette Street.

On Monday night, Oct. 14, Crawford said he’s received calls from residents about the issue.

“We’ve had several complaints since we put the fence up around the cemetery that coming out of Church Street to Lafayette, it has restricted some of the visibility,” Crawford said.

Crawford pitched the idea of making Church Street a one-way moving forward, but also suggested holding public hearings regarding the change before making an ultimate decision.

“What I suggest is that we do this with a series of meetings with a first reading, second reading — give the public a chance to come in and speak on this and get their opinions rather than just mandate something and put it there,” Crawford said. “We can have a series of meetings, inform those people over there, and if they’ve got a complaint they can come down and tell us.”

Councilman Larry Black agreed with Crawford that feedback from residents on the matter is the way to go.

“We’re going in the right direction where we give the residents there the opportunity to come down and voice their concerns,” Black said.

Ultimately, the board unanimously approved moving forward with the one-way change into the public hearing process. The change will go through three readings before being officially adopted.

During previous discussions about the change, Mayor Nick Millwood said he talked to some of the residents that would be impacted the most by the change if it’s adopted.

“I spoke to a few of the residents there and they don’t have a problem with it,” Millwood said during the Sept. 23 meeting. “They are at the point where they say they really need to go that way anyway.”

City staff will send letters out to the residents and lone business of Church Street to encourage attendance and feedback at one of the upcoming public hearings.

With only three meetings left in 2019, council member Randall Franks said the hope is to have the change approved and in place by the end of the year.

As for the next step, the city attorney will be asked to draft up an ordinance for the change to be presented during the first of three public hearings during the next meeting slated for Oct. 28.

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009.

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