Hope is often served with a side of doubt in East Ridge. Over the years, flea markets have replaced big-box stores and purchasing a new pair of pants has become a punchline — even in a town where the average household income is $36,000. This is a city of bad breaks, where, in recent years, there’s been a revolving door of city administrators. Where “if only” is a recurring theme.
A debate is raging in East Ridge, however, about whether the city is entering a new era. Driving the discussion is the construction of an 85,000-square-foot, $25 million Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World off Exit 1 in the city, on a larger tract of land owned by a trio of Chattanooga businessmen who say they’re going to build a 50-acre retail and commercial development they hope will change the city.
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