Walker Rocks Start-up Challenge awards rooftop deck and info kiosks

Contributed photo / The site of a proposed rooftop patio in downtown Chickamauga is above Droop Scoops and Phil's Primetime Pizza.

A rooftop deck in downtown Chickamauga and an educational tourism infobox for Rossville are in the works to enhance tourism in Walker County.

Following a "Shark Tank"-inspired pitch competition of five competitive proposals, both of these projects were awarded $2,500 at the second annual Walker Rocks Start-up Challenge on Oct. 17. Originally, the competition was for $5,000 in grant money, but the judges decided to split the prize between the two projects, citing the dual compatibility with the Walker Rocks mission to promote county businesses and tourism.

Kevin Martin, owner of Phil's Primetime Pizza in Chickamauga, said the grant would help to fund a multi-use rooftop deck atop his pizza joint and the attached ice cream shop, Droop Scoops.

The enclosed area has the potential to be used for hosting parties and gatherings as well as a great place to watch the city's Christmas parade or the Ironman competition, said Martin. There are no other rooftop dining options in Chickamauga, he noted, and that could make the city a fun destination.

Construction will begin in January 2020 and they hope to open the deck by the spring.

Grant money will also go toward bringing people into Rossville.

A solar-powered informational kiosk will be installed at the historic John Ross House to share information about the Cherokee leader and nation, his home, and other historic areas in Walker County.

This will be part of phase two of the John Ross Commons redevelopment project, said Susan Wells, executive director of Rossville Redev Workshop, a citizen-led community improvement group. Wells made note that thousands of cars pass through Rossville each day, and her project could get some of them to stop, she told the competition judges.

Last year, David Bridges, owner of Battlefield Outdoors, won the Walker Rocks grant to add a transport passenger van to his business so he could deliver people to hiking, biking and kayaking destinations in Walker County. The grant is funded by a partnership between the Walker County Chamber of Commerce and Peach State Federal Credit Union.

This year's three other finalists included a project to help to fund the replacement of flags and crosses placed at Joe Stock Park to honor fallen soldiers from Walker County; phase one of an eco-friendly park pitched by resident Thom Cavin; and marketing for the Bird Hollow horse stable and barn in Flintstone.

Email Sabrina Bodon at sbodon@timesfreepress.com.