Trail of Tears

Ringgold recently awarded a bid for work on the second phase of its "Trail of Tears" along South Chickamauga Creek. (Catoosa News photo/Adam Cook)

The city of Ringgold is prepared to move forward with the second phase of its "Trail of Tears" portion of the historic Nature Trail after awarding a bid for the work during its most recent City Council meeting.

After delaying a vote two weeks earlier, the City Council struck a deal with the Calhoun-based Integrated Sitework LLC on Feb. 12 for more than $75,000 less than their initial bid submitted in Nov.

On Jan. 22, City Manager Dan Wright discussed how the three bids that came in for the work were higher than projected.

Integrated Sitework LLC offered $222,920, Integrated Properties, LLC $285, 318, and Tri Scapes, Inc. $439,967 for concrete improvements to the trail head near the Water Treatment Plant located on South Depot Street.

Wright says even the low bid far exceeded the projected cost of $134,200, which prompted negotiations on how to cut some of the cost involved.

"After going through each line item, they have reduced their cost to $147,349.65, which is an overall reduction in the contract price of $75,570.50," Wright said. "The city crews have pulled out certain items they felt like they could do with our equipment and our own manpower. It'll cost us approximately $30,000 in hard costs."

Wright says there was also some give and take regarding the specifics of the work being done, as well as when grand funds would be applied to some of the cost.

"We have eliminated several items that we've determined were just not needed, and that's how the savings will be handled," Wright said. "We also pulled out a lot of the signage that the Lyndhurst Foundation is going to pay directly for, and also that the Convention and Visitor's Bureau will also be paying for."

Among the readily available funds, the city has a $100,000 trail grant from the Department of Natural Resources, $25,000 in cash from the Lyndhurst Foundation, as well as an additional $5,000 agreed upon from Lyndhurst. There are also contributions of $200 from Elder's Ace Hardware and $3,000 from the Convention and Visitor's Bureau for signage to get people to the trail.

Those totals would leave the city on the hook for a little more than $14,000 of the total cost of the project.

Ringgold's Nature Trail has been a popular go-to outdoor spot in town for years because of its beautiful landscape, creek access, and proximity to the recreational complex, as well as amenities like its swimming and fishing holes, and canoe launch.

Crews broke ground on the first phase of the "Trail of Tears" in 2014 and concreted the walkway a year later.

Wright says the next step in the process is for he and city Finance Director Will Baerg to meet with the Department of Natural Resources to go over the details of how the $100,000 in grant funding will be reimbursed for the project.

Neither an exact start date nor a completion timetable for the work have been announced yet.

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009. He can be reached at The Catoosa County News office at 706-935-2621 and by email at