Chattanooga Red Wolves edge closer to stadium goal with final rezoning approval

Image via city of East Ridge

East Ridge officials took huge steps in making their goal of soccer stadium possible.

The East Ridge City Council made a final vote to rezone a section of land for The Red Wolves Soccer Club.

After about an hour of public discussion, the city council unanimously votes to rezone land between I-75 and Spring Creek.

This was the second and final reading on the ordinance.

But if some people in the audience had it their way, the area would stay the way it is now.

Putting a soccer stadium.. in East Ridge, turned into a match.

And it didn't happen on a field.

East Ridge is seemingly divided into to two teams: those for and those against a stadium.

Longtime East Ridge resident, Jane Sharp wants the economic benefits the development will bring, but is worried about negative impacts on the ecosystem and traffic.

"The complex where the stadium is going to be, its a two lane road. There is no means for an ambulance to get around that traffic to get someone to the emergency room at Park Ridge Hospital," said Sharp.

With millions in yearly revenue and about 1,200 jobs on the line, city officials unanimously voted to take this next step.

"Its a critical step in advancing our project for the Chattanooga Red Wolves," said Red Wolves Team Owner Bob Martino.

The $125 million complex will include retail shopping, apartments, and a hotel.

"We really want to focus on having an element added to the community that the people will enjoy whether they're soccer fans or not," said Martino.

Before they set up shop, some East Ridge residents are pushing for a community advisory board.

The groups would directly discuss matters impacting their neighborhood and lives with the soccer program's leaders.

"We need someone as an independent body who is going to represent our interests and get questions answered by being in touch with the people who have the answers to their questions," said Sharp.

Like it or not, Thursday's decision edged East Ridge closer to becoming the permanent home of the Red Wolves.

Developers have not set a specific date they'd like to break ground.

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