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Soddy-Daisy wilderness comes back to the people in Henry Glascock transaction

Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014
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    Henry Glascock, Commissioner Max Lowe, Commissioner Patti Skates, Tiffany, Jenna, Eva, Carmen, Dr. Steve Quarfordt, Commissioner Rick Nunley, Mayor Janice Cagle and Commissioner Gene Shipley

Most people in Soddy-Daisy knew about the creek and the secluded gorge that protected it, but otherwise, it was a wellkept secret. The 285-acre area tucked beneath Flat Top Mountain was a private playground for every Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer growing up nearby. Hidden from the prying eyes of parents and police, generations enjoyed climbing on the ruins of an old coal town and inner tubing on the clear, cold water falling from the Cumberland Plateau. Locals called it the Gulf, and if the river could talk, it might have been renamed something much more notorious.

Sadly, great places seldom last forever, and so it was with the Gulf. A decade ago, a local doctor bought the property, cleaned it up and closed the gate to all future public adventures. He wanted a place of peace and quiet, protected by walls of giant hardwood trees, interrupted only by the sound of Big Soddy Creek. He improved the road, groomed hiking trails and made careful plans for a new home. But great ideas seldom last forever either, and his growing family inspired other plans. In the meantime, the state of Tennessee bought all of the land surrounding the Gulf, creating a new state park.

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“Time to sell,” thought Dr. Steven Quarfordt.

He and his wife, Tiffany, worked out a deal to auction the land through John Dixon & Associates, and the date was set for mid-July of this year. Their agent, Henry Glascock, prepared a marketing plan with brochures, signs, radio, newspaper, an Internet campaign and anything else he could think up. On a whim, Glascock thought that perhaps the city of Soddy-Daisy would be interested, even though it might be arduous to deal with “town hall,” and they probably couldn’t act quickly enough. But Hardie Stulce, former Soddy Daisy city manager, was willing to look at the property as he knew every rock and waterfall of his old playground.

“Let me hear what the commissioners have to say,” Stulce told Glascock. “What do you think it will sell for?”Glascock told him it might hit $3,000,000. Stulce knew that Soddy-Daisy didn’t have that kind of money, so he suggested that Glascock try to work out a sale with the Quarfordts before the auction -- hopefully at a better price.

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The Quarfordts considered the city’s request. “I wouldn’t mind selling at a lower price if I knew the land would be preserved,” said Tiffany, probably much to the surprise of her husband, who had invested great sums of money, time and effort into the land. Apparently, Tiffany Quarfordt is a very persuasive lady. Her husband agreed to try and make something happen, and happen it did.

With a generous donation from the Quarfordts and unanimous support from Soddy-Daisy leaders, the auction was called off. Now, the beloved Gulf is owned (legally) by the citizens of Soddy-Daisy, and the gates will re-open soon to a new generation of Huck Finns. So, when your grandchildren wade into the Big Soddy, remind them about the community leaders way back in 2014 and to say, “Thank you very much, Tiffany Quarfordt.”

MORE INFORMATION

Henry Glascock is an agent of John Dixon & Associates, which is located at 3908 Tennessee Ave. and can be reached at 825-0049, or visit johndixon.com.

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