A few weeks after receiving a $600,000 grant for a new water tank, the city of Ringgold has now retained an engineer for the proposed $1.5 million project that will ensure the city's water needs for the future.

In October, City Manager Dan Wright revealed that the city had received a $600,000 Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant after applying for half that amount earlier in the year.

Wright and City Council members took part in a "big check" presentation with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the ARC in early December, which kicked off the official planning of the project.

On Monday night, Dec. 11, the council unanimously approved contracting Rindt-McDuff and Associates engineering firm to handle the grant administration, preliminary and final design and bidding and construction management for the project.

"Richard Akin of Rindt-McDuff was good enough to work with us through all the paperwork in applying for the grant and putting that package together," Wright explained. "Now we're to the point where we realize we have a $1.5 million water tank that we're trying to build in the industrial park area. The next phase would be to meet all the requirements to get the monies approved. The next step would be to retain Rindt-McDuff and Associates as the engineer to do the design on the particular project and help with some of the project management as well."

Akin says the remaining portion of the needed funding could come from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA), which specializes in low-interest infrastructure financing for municipalities.

"We worked with the city on this grant, and a lot of folks put in a lot of hard work," Akin said. "We will be applying to the GEFA for low-interest money that has principal forgiveness. Hopefully the city will qualify for that forgiveness. They (GEFA) have 1.39-percent interest rates."

When the city received the ARC Grant, Wright explained that the new tank would be a way of storing more water for times when unforeseen circumstances arise.

"The main emphasis in building that water tank is going to be able to provide additional fire protection for our manufacturers," Wright said. "That was the whole purpose...it'll allow us to have more storage in the air in case we happen to lose power, or in case there is some type of issue where we have to take the water plant out of service until we get the well built."

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.