Parking/lighting needs

Ringgold City Councilman Randall Franks discusses public parking and lighting needs downtown during the March 9 meeting.

City officials in Ringgold have been discussing the need to update parking and lighting downtown in order to create a more enjoyable experience for both locals and tourists.

During the March 9 City Council meeting, the board discussed both the current parking structure and some areas where better lighting might be a great asset.

Councilman Randall Franks suggested working with the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) to determine the best course of action.

“One of the things that we’d love to look at is to ask the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to develop a map of all the parking downtown,” Franks said. “Creating that to be available through our merchants, through their computer sites, through our Facebook, through their Facebook, creating whatever form that may take – whether it’s a printed map a computer map, an app that can be used on the telephone – whatever forms are available so that whenever people come downtown, they can find parking and they’ll know where they can place their car while they shop and eat in downtown Ringgold.”

Franks also discussed the lighting concerns related to the small lot behind Joy’s United Gift Shop at the corner of Mountain Street and Tennessee Street.

“We have discussed the addition of lighting at our Mountain Street/Tennessee Street Parking lot – I think that can be accomplished with a pole light there at a reasonable cost of about $9 per month in electricity,” Franks opined. “That will make that a much more inviting location for people who are coming downtown in the evening to go to the restaurants, as well as making sure all of our lots are property marked as municipal parking lots and adding any signage to any particular parking lots which may not have them at the current time.”

Another location of discussion was the lighting, or lack thereof, along Sparks Street near Ringgold High School.

A lot of that discussion included acknowledgment of all the activities that go on related to the schools.

“Sparks Street is one of our most traveled streets being the street between Highway 41 and the high school and middle school, especially at night,” Franks said.

“There are a lot of things happening at the schools at night time – I think it’s important that we work to enhance the lighting along that route and along the sidewalks so they’re more assessable and easily used.”

Franks added that pole lights are more cost efficient than ornamental lighting.

“I think adding those pole lights on the intersection will reduce the number of ornamental lights that need to be placed,” Franks said.

Mayor Nick Millwood said some residents have asked for lighting upgrades in that area.

“The residents have expressed to both of us (he and Franks) the great desire to have that there,” Millwood said. “We have students and a lot of traffic through there even in the mornings before the sun comes up. It’s much needed.”

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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