Dan Wright

Ringgold City Manager Dan Wright discusses recent bids for Phase II of the Trail of Tears project during the Jan. 22 City Council meeting. (Catoosa News photo/Adam Cook)

The city of Ringgold recently opted to table any vote regarding the second phase of its Trail of Tears project after bids for the work came in higher than expected.

During the Jan. 22 City Council meeting, City Manager Dan Wright discussed the details of the bids with the council after the lowest estimate on the project came in more than $80,000 higher than anticipated.

"We had a bid opening Nov. 27, and that low bid was from Integrated Site Work for $222,920," Wright said. "When we started the process of grants and engineering, the engineer, Greta DeMayo, had estimated that the total project would be $134,200."

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.

"We try to keep all the signage consistent throughout the trail system whether it's a foot trail, pedestrian trail, bike trail, or blue trail for our canoes, and then we also had Elder's Ace Hardware at $200 and the Convention and Visitor's Bureau at $3,000 for signage to get people to the trail."

Wright says the remaining city portion of the project would be $88,720.15 if the bid was approved. However, the council voted to table the matter until the next meeting so some of the city staff could negotiate and possibly do some of the work with city crews to save money.

"Our Parks and Recreation director Stephen Middlebrooks and Mark Vaughn, our sewer collection director, are looking at trying to place real values based on what we feel like we can do in-house or by local contractor," Wright said. "Hopefully by Feb. 12, we can have an actual recommendation for you to rescind the bids or to accept the bids and figure out where we're going to go from here."

Feb. 12 is the date of the next regularly scheduled meeting, which will take place at Ringgold City Hall. A pre-meeting work session will be held beforehand at 6 p.m.

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 acook@npco.com.