RINGGOLD, Ga. -- Catoosa County commissioners voted to transfer out of county control a piece of property cleared by the April tornado so it can be marketed for new development in downtown Ringgold.
"I think it will be a good opportunity for commercial development, economic development," said Keith Greene, chairman of the Catoosa County Commission.
The property, at the corner of Nashville and Sparks streets, used to be the site of the county's Department of Family and Children's Services office, but the building was destroyed by the April 27 storm.
County Attorney Chad Young called the 1.18 acres "prime commercial property."
If the county owned the property, the only way officials could sell it would have been at auction to the highest bidder, Young said. The development authority can market the property and be more selective about who buys the land.
Catoosa County and Fort Oglethorpe lured retail giant Costco to Cloud Springs Road in 2010 by buying land and preparing it before selling it to the company.
Greene said the move with the DFCS property was a step toward bringing new businesses to the county, which he called "vital" to the future. He said the site is best suited for retail or other commercial operations.
"We've got to get new business in here," he said. "We can't rely on property tax forever."
In other action, the commission approved bonuses for county employees. The extra Christmas money was not originally in the budget, but financial officer Carl Henson said the county revenues exceeded expectations, allowing the $68,000 expenditure.
The bonus will be $200 for each full-time employee with one year of service.