Ringgold City Council, Catoosa County officials and employees of the new Center for Sports Medicine and Orthopedics pose for a photo at the ground breaking event Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, for the Center for Sports Medicine and Orthopedics along Battlefield Parkway in Ringgold, Ga. The center specializes in surgeries, non-invasive work and rehab for bones and muscles.

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Ground broken on Ringgold sports medicine facility

North Georgia politicians hope the opening of a new medical practice will spur more development in the Ringgold area.

City councilmen and Catoosa County commissioners broke ground Tuesday with doctors and other representatives of the Center for Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics. Located on the 4700 block of Battlefield Parkway, the center is across the street from Battlefield Imaging, where Hutcheson Medical Center's former ambulatory surgical center once stood.

The center specializes in surgeries, non-invasive work and rehab for bones and muscles. With six locations already in Tennessee dating back to 1979, this will be the first center in Georgia. CEO Becky Farmer said the center hopes to open the 17,000-square-foot facility by early next year.

"The residents of North Georgia have come to us for a long time," she said Monday. "This was a no-brainer."

Randall Peters, chairman of the Catoosa County Economic Development Authority, said this was one of the smoothest projects to land. Developer Larry Armour approached the EDA about bringing the center to Battlefield Parkway less than a year ago. Both sides completed the necessary paperwork for the facility a couple of months ago.

The property is part of Project Jump, a partnership between the local governments and Armour. Using a no- interest loan from the developer, the Authority bought about 20 acres in November and December of last year. The local government entity bought half the land from the Ringgold Church of Christ in November for $850,000 and the other half from Brice Holland in December for $1.7 million.

The authority, the city of Ringgold and Catoosa County are splitting the cost of site development, which includes road and intersection improvements, land grading and installing utilities and a storm water system. The total cost of the work is about $1.9 million, said Authority Spokeswoman Katie Sponberger.

Armour has provided a financial guarantee that sales and property taxes from new businesses here will cover the site development cost within seven years. Armour is helping the authority recruit companies.

"We feel like this is kind of the start," Peters said Tuesday morning.

The facility will have four healthcare providers on site, as well as about five physical therapists. Dr. Bradford Mitchell, a non-operative orthopedist, said the center will be a great spot to heal sprains, strains, broken bones, concussions, joint pain and muscle aches.

Compared to surrounding municipalities, Catoosa County has a slightly wealthier population. The median household income sits at $51,000 — about in line with the state average. According to Census data, that figure is about 15 percent higher than Walker and Whitfield counties, as well as about 6 percent higher than Hamilton County.

Contact Staff Writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.