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People gather to look at vintage vehicles at the Fourth of July festivities at North Park across from Soddy Lake.

Cuddled between mountain ridges and Soddy Lake, Soddy-Daisy offers the best of both rural and urban life. With Chattanooga less than 20 minutes away, residents get the conveniences of a metropolitan city and still have the friendliness of a quaint small-town community.

Soddy-Daisy is close-knit — people work together and go to church together. Some residents have family ties that go back more than 200 years, says Steve Smith, longtime Soddy-Daisy resident and president of the Soddy, Daisy and Montlake Historical Association. Some of those families are so established in the community that they predate even the formation of Hamilton County in 1819, putting down roots in the area when it was still part of Rhea County, he says.

The benefit of such deep roots, says Smith, is that people know each other and look out for each other. That makes Soddy-Daisy a great place to raise kids, he says.

Soddy-Daisy offers Soddy-Daisy High School, a suburban school in the Hamilton County School District where more than 60 percent of students test proficient in math and English and 86 percent of them graduate from high school. That compares to less than 20 percent of students testing proficient in high school math and less than 30 percent testing proficient in high school English among other schools in the district.

That success draws families to Soddy-Daisy.

"Your high-growth areas are still determined by the school[s]," says Vicki Trapp, a broker with Crye-Leike Realty. "So Ooltewah, Soddy-Daisy, Signal Mountain are where people are moving."

The high school isn't the only draw. Sequoyah Nuclear Plant supports more than 1,000 full-time jobs in the area.

That demand is driving up prices.

"There are 94 houses active for sale in the 37379 ZIP code where Soddy-Daisy is located," Trapp says. "They go from a price range of $69,000 all the way up to $1.4 million."

BY THE NUMBERS

WHO WE ARE

Population: 13,217 (2016 estimates)

Median age: 41.7

White: 98%

Black or African-American: 0.5%

American Indian or native Alaskan: 0.4%

Hispanic or Latino (of any race): 2.7%

Two or more races: 0.6%

*Does not equal 100% due to overlap.

Source: American FastFacts

WHERE WE LIVE

Median home listing price: $200,000

Median home closing price: $239,000

Source: Realtor.com, city-data.com

» The estimated median house or condo value in 2016 was $126,550. It was $76,300 in 2000. Vicki Trapp, a broker with Crye-Leike Realty, says that since January 2018, builders have started 13 new homes. They range in price from $220,000 to $495,000.

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Soddy-Daisy High School is a big draw for the Soddy-Daisy community.

OUR SCHOOLS

Allen Elementary (preK-5)

Population: 557

Proficiency (TVAAS): 5/5 overall, 4/5 in literacy, 3/5 in numeracy

» Repeatedly recognized for the involvement of its PTA, the school seeks to connect with students and families beyond just the classroom. Allen also hosts the Family Resource Center, a nonprofit agency whose mission is to "strengthen and enrich family life in the community by educating and empowering families."

Daisy Elementary (preK-5)

Population: 402

Proficiency (TVAAS): 3/5 overall, 4/5 in literacy, 1/5 in numeracy

Soddy Elementary (preK-5)

Population: 477

Proficiency (TVAAS): 1/5 overall, 2/5 in literacy, 1/5 in numeracy

Loftis Middle

Population: 596

Proficiency (TVAAS): 5/5 overall, 5/5 in literacy, 5/5 in numeracy

» One of only two schools in the state recognized in 2017 for its PTA, the school boasts high involvement between teachers, parents and students. The other, Allen Elementary, is also in the Soddy-Daisy school zone.

Soddy-Daisy Middle

Population: 442

Proficiency (TVAAS): 3/5 overall, 2/5 in literacy, 1/5 in numeracy

» In the 2018-19 school year, Soddy Middle will join a total of 16 schools across the district outfitted with Volkswagen eLabs. With the purpose of equipping area students with the skills they need to succeed, each lab offers a variety of tools to give them hands-on experience through application based learning and problem solving: automated manufacturing equipment, programmable microcomputers, renewable energy kits, 3-D printers, robotics and laser cutters.

Soddy-Daisy High

Population: 1,235

Proficiency (TVAAS): 1/5 overall, 3/5 in literacy, 5/5 in numeracy

ACT scores: 20.8 composite, 19.8 in English, 20.5 in math, 21.5 in reading, 20.9 in science

» As part of Hamilton County Schools' Future Ready initiative, the Institute of Tech Start-Ups and Web Design will be housed within Soddy-Daisy High beginning in the 2018-19 school year. With themes spread across the district, each institute will focus on career-centric lessons to marry education and employment.

Sequoyah High

Population: 354

Proficiency (TVAAS): 1/5 overall, 1/5 in literacy, 1/5 in numeracy

ACT scores: 16.8 composite, 15.6 in English, 16.1 in math, 17.8 in reading, 17.1 in science

» In keeping with its vocational focus — students can already learn auto mechanics, welding, cosmetology and computer technologies, among other skills — Sequoyah High will gain the Institute of Industrial Manufacturing and the Institute of Digital Arts, Design and Production as part of the district's Future Ready initiative.

Ivy Academy (9-12)

Population: 208

Proficiency (TVAAS): 3/5 overall, 5/5 in literacy, 1/5 in numeracy

ACT scores: 17.2 composite, 16.5 in English, 16.8 in math, 17.5 in reading, 17.6 in science

» Ivy Academy opened in 2009 as Tennessee's first environmentally themed public school. Students spend the majority of their day outdoors while studying subjects from U.S. history to marine science. The charter school has grown to the point that it is expanding to add 12 new classrooms, a library and a covered outdoor area for students. When the new building opens in fall 2018, students will also gain the opportunity for multiple certifications and specific environmental diplomas.

*The Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System scale runs from 1-5, with 1 denoting the least effective schools/districts and least amount of progress toward the Standard for Academic Growth.

Source: 2017 State Report Card

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Anthony Meeks and his wife, Kochar, walk the shoreline of North Chickamauga Creek with their dogs. "We live in Hixson and walk here about every week," Anthony says.

WHAT WE DO FOR FUN

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Wood carvers come from across the country to spend weeks or months at Horsing Around — carving and restoring mostly carousel animals. Call the school for more information at 423-332-1111.
Big Soddy Creek Gulf: Offers hiking trails, mountain and gorge views, natural habitats, waterfalls, floral, wildlife and rock formations spread across 285 acres. With its wide, relatively flat gravel pathways, the area is accessible to most. 11721 Back Valley Road.

Kids Park: Features a basketball court, playgrounds, walking track, two snack bars, clay horseshoe court (check tournament information at horseshoepitching.com), and eight lighted ball fields operated by the Kids Club recreation league (call 423-451-7359). 150 Depot St. on the north end of Soddy-Daisy on Dayton Pike.

Veterans Park: A walking track and rentable pavilion (call 423-332-5323) surrounded by WWI, WWII, Korean and Vietnam War memorials, monuments of the Twin Towers, and a donated Huey helicopter. Two lighted ball fields with snack bars and restrooms are also on-site. 9057-9199 Dayton Pike.

Scramble Alley Park: Includes a wood climbing maze for kids, picnic tables, and brand-new pavilion with restrooms. 9835 Dayton Pike.

Holly Park: One of the newest parks, it offers a double wide boat ramp, 16 parking spaces large enough to accommodate trucks with boat trailers, picnic tables near the water, and new restrooms under construction. 11606 Holly Circle.

Soddy-Daisy Senior Citizen Center: Offers arts and crafts instruction, congregate meals, health education, recreational activities, social development and enrichment for those at least 50 years old, and serves as a VITA program site. 190 Depot St. Call 432-332-1702.

FARM FRESH

Flattop Farm Market
13100 Jones Gap Road
Blackberries, watermelons, peaches, strawberries, beans, corn, cucumbers, okra, onions, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, squash and tomatoes in season. Call 423-332-1946 for times and schedule.

DETAILS

BIG EVENTS: Annual events include the city's annual Fourth of July celebration at Soddy Park and the Soddy-Daisy Christmas Parade.

CITY SERVICES: The Soddy-Daisy Board of Commissioners meets at 7 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of each month at the Municipal Building, 9835 Dayton Pike. Visit soddy-daisy.org/city-government/meeting-minutes for agendas and minutes.

GET INVOLVED: The Soddy-Daisy Chamber of Commerce meets at noon the third Thursday of each month at Budweiser, 200 Shearer St. Cost is $10 and includes lunch.

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