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A Zaxby's restaurant is in the works across from the Bass Pro Shop to be built near Interstate 75 at Camp Jordan in East Ridge.

But developer John Healy says the new restaurant and other developments will be added only after the Hamilton County Commission agrees to pitch in $1 million toward an estimated $3 million of road improvements at the site.

"If we don't get the road, then it's probably just going to be Bass Pro," he said Friday.

Healy is developing "Jordan Crossing," a 50-acre retail, restaurant and hotel project at Exit 1 on I-75 in partnership with commercial general contractor brothers Matt and Ethan Wood.

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Shannon Brown signed a letter of intent to open a Zaxby's restaurant across in East Ridge from the soon-to-get-under-construction Bass Pro Shop.
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The Zaxby's on Shallowford Road is shown after being remodeled.

Shannon Brown, of Chattanooga-based JSB Holdings, who has built at least half a dozen Zaxby's restaurants in the Chattanooga area, has signed a letter of intent to open one at Jordan Crossing, Healy said. And Thursday night, the East Ridge City Council voted to spend $1 million for road improvements at the development. The state also has agreed to contribute $1 million, Healy said. So Healy and the Woods brothers hope the county commission commits $1 million.

County commissioners favor the project, said Tim Boyd, the commissioner who represents East Ridge. But it remains to be seen, he said, whether the county will pay to widen Camp Jordan Parkway, which is a city-owned street.

"I don't think the county should participate in the improvement of city streets," Boyd said.

It would make more sense, Boyd said, for the county to partner with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) to widen Ringgold Road, which is also known as State Route 8 or U.S. 41, or for the county to help improve Exit 1 on I-75 near the proposed development.

"The county teams up with TDOT all the time," he said.

The developers may be under the gun, said Boyd, who's heard that Bass Pro officials want all the road work done before the big box fishing and outdoors store opens.

"They're in a time crunch, here," Boyd said.

While Boyd doesn't want to spend county funds on city streets in his role as commissioner, as a longtime East Ridge resident, he supports Jordan Crossing.

"It's a great project," Boyd said. "It's the biggest thing for East Ridge since the freeway went through town during the '60s."

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfreepress.com or www.facebook.com/tim.omarzu or twitter.com/TimOmarzu or 423-757-6651.

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