Officials in Ringgold are discussing the possibility of renaming a street near the Catoosa County Courthouse after the late Gene Lowery.
On Monday night, July 8, the City Council continued the discussion of the proposed idea to name Maple Street between Lafayette and Nashville streets after Lowery, who passed away from cancer in 2014.
The idea was previously pitched to the board during June and May meetings by resident Kenny Williams, and Mayor Nick Millwood says he has begun looking into the matter as has city staff.
“We’ve talked to a few of the people that are along Maple Street,” Millwood said. “I talked to some of the residents and we talked to one of the businesses. Understandably, there’s concern with people changing their address and all that goes along with that.”
There hasn’t been any opposition to naming a town after Lowery, who served as county probate judge and municipal judge for the city. Millwood said potential issues are more from a logistical standpoint.
“This was a great recommendation that was brought to us, but it looks perhaps like we might be looking at a different area or a different street, but we’re not prepared to do that at this point,” Millwood said.
Although Councilman Larry Black missed the meeting due to illness, City Manager Dan Wright said Black and staff reached out to one business owner on Maple who had concerns about how the renaming would impact some of her advertising.
“She (the business owner) just had her address put on her business sign and business cards, etc.,” Wright explained. “She asked the council to consider the renaming of Jail Street instead of Maple because that wouldn’t affect anyone’s addresses.”
Jail Street is on the opposite side of the courthouse, but likewise connects to Lafayette Street and Nashville Street.
“That was the general sentiment of three of the five residences that are there that I was able to talk to,” Millwood said. “They’re all for honoring someone who deserves to be honored, but you know. It’s a little bit of a hassle. There’s a lot involved with having your address changed.”
Wright also pointed out that there are city codes about renaming streets.
“There is a process,” Wright said. “If this wants to move forward, we probably need to stick with our process.”
“I agree it would be much easier on Jail Street and perhaps more appropriate, so we can look at that moving forward,” Millwood replied.
Lowery was a lifelong Catoosa County resident who in addition to serving as probate and municipal judge, served as magistrate court judge from 1993-96, and also spent time with the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy, dispatcher, and DARE officer.
Although no decision has been made as of yet, Wright said that changing the name of Jail Street instead of Maple might be the most fitting way to honor Lowery with a street.
“That’s where Judge Lowery started his career in law enforcement – there at the old jail,” Wright said.