A new Ringgold might have a new look

A new Ringgold might have a new look

May 25th, 2011 by Mike O'Neal in Catoosa

Some business owners may opt for a new look if and when they rebuild in the tornado damaged areas of Ringgold rather than the haphazard design that marked development along Alabama Highway between U.S. Highway 41 and Interstate 75.

"Building will occur under current codes in the city with hopes that some will add suggested enhancements," said Ringgold City Manager Dan Wright.

Catoosa County Manager Mike Helton said that after its year-long effort to develop a comprehensive plan, the county turned its attention to revising and reconciling countywide zoning ordinances.

Citizen input during the comprehensive planning process called for preserving the county's districts in Fort Oglethorpe and Ringgold and perhaps developing new requirements for landscaping and facades of new commercial development.

While changing current codes is a work in progress - one that will require public hearings and input from developers, planners and citizens - rebuilding on the scale required following the tornado is in effect pushing the issue.

A committee appointed by Mayor Joe Barger has created a list of commercial building recommendations that includes aesthetic components and is being provided to businesses faced with the rebuild, according to Helton.

"The goal is to rebuild, not in a piecemeal fashion but to link the old and the new," said Raye Brooks, president of Ringgold Downtown Partners.

Brooks said the mayor asked that the public and business owners be polled and a suggested set of guidelines be prepared that would help revitalize the town during its rebuilding.

The Ringgold Phoenix Group, a union of local leaders, the Downtown Development Authority, the Downtown Partners and others, has created a Facebook page titled Rebuilding Ringgold to promote an open dialogue concerning what changes might be in store.

Suggestions have focused on aesthetics, on making the town more pedestrian friendly, on attracting travelers from I-75 to Ringgold the town rather than just a place for fast food or fuel and to expand the concept of Mainstream all the way from the Depot to the Interstate.

"The city would like to have an agreed on vision for the overall look of Ringgold as it rebuilds," Brooks said.