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Kelcurt Foundation Soddy-Daisy Community Library volunteer Claudia Inwood is drawn to Blade, the resident cat that walks the tops of bookshelves. / Photo: Tim Barber
Soddy-Daisy is a great community for families looking for their forever home. Everyone watches out for everyone else. It is a smalltown hometown.

Drive down Tennessee Highway 153 on a hot Fourth of July afternoon, and you will suddenly find yourself surrounded by a sea of boats on either side. If you feel that sense of family and festivity wafting through the air, you can rest assured you have arrived in Soddy-Daisy, where taking in fireworks as a community is an annual tradition.

Nestled in the valley between downtown Chattanooga and Dayton, Tennessee, the lakeside bedroom community boasts beauty, tradition and outstanding businesses and schools.

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Veteran's Park / Photo: Erin O. Smith

"We have experienced a lot of growth, and the town is booming," says lifelong Soddy-Daisy resident Lee Ann Hammer. "Subdivisions are going up everywhere, and we are getting lots of new businesses, especially restaurants. When I was in high school, there were lots of mom-and-pop restaurants and a Hardee's, but now we have lots of restaurants you would find in busier parts of town."

On Hammer's list of favorite local dining spots are El Metate, Merv's Burgers, Ricko's Pizzeria and Italian Cuisine, and Scottie's Diner. She is also a fan of restaurant Andy's Barbecue, which is known for making contributions to local schools.

"They buy signs for the ballfields and biscuits for Teacher Appreciation Day," Hammer says of Andy's. "They are wonderful supporters of the community."

Those schools which the restaurant helps to champion are certainly at the heart of the community. Additionally, the newly established Soddy-Daisy Community Library is a place anyone can visit and find a wealth of books to read at no charge to them.

"The library has been a wonderful addition to our community," Hammer says. "It fulfills a need we have had for years and is a new piece of history that this community can treasure."

 

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Ribs from Steve's Landing / File photo

(MORE) LOCAL FLAVOR

Longtime Soddy-Daisy restaurant Steve's Landing is a favorite among Chattanooga Times Free Press readers. In the 2018 "Best of the Best" readers choice awards, they deemed it Best Ribs and one of three finalists for Best Outdoor Dining. 1145 Poling Circle. Call 423-332-4098.

 

BY THE NUMBERS

WHO WE ARE

Median income: $42,131

Population: 13,364

Median age: 41.6

White: 96%

Hispanic: 2.2%

African-American: 0.8%

Native American: 0.4%

Two or more races: 0.5%

*2017 estimates.

Source: 2017 American Community Survey

 

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Lee Ann Hammer, standing near Veteran's Park on Old Dayton Pike in Soddy-Daisy, says new housing subdivisions and restaurants are a sure sign her community is growing. / Photo: Tim Barber

WHERE WE LIVE

Median home value: $153,700

Median home listing price: $219,900

Source: Zillow

» Soddy-Daisy is a seller's market. According to Zillow.com. Home values have gone up 11.7% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 5.3% within the next year.

 

OUR SCHOOLS

Allen Elementary (preK-5)

Enrollment: 512

Proficiency (TVAAS): 5/5 overall, 4/5 in language arts, 5/5 in math, 3/5 in science

» Repeatedly recognized for the involvement of its PTA, Allen Elementary seeks to connect with students and families beyond just the classroom. The school 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)

Enrollment: 382

Proficiency (TVAAS): 1/5 overall, 2/5 in language arts, 1/5 in math, 1/5 in science

» Daisy was named a 2018 Reward School, the top distinction a school can earn in Tennessee, for improving overall student academic achievement and student growth for all students and student groups. In 2018, about 20 percent of schools in the state — including Soddy-Daisy-zoned Allen, McConnell and Soddy elementaries and Loftis Middle — earned Reward status.

McConnell Elementary (K-5)

Enrollment: 553

Proficiency (TVAAS): 5/5 overall, 5/5 in language arts, 5/5 in math, 5/5 in science

Soddy Elementary (preK-5)

Enrollment: 485

Proficiency (TVAAS): 5/5 overall, 4/5 in language arts, 5/5 in math, 5/5 in science

Loftis Middle

Enrollment: 619

Proficiency (TVAAS): 5/5 overall, 5/5 in language arts, 5/5 in math, 5/5 in science

» Loftis Middle is one of only two schools in Tennessee — along with Soddy-Daisy-zoned Allen Elementary — to be named a 2018-2019 National PTA School of Excellence for its leadership and accomplishments in building strong, effective family-school partnerships.

Soddy-Daisy Middle

Enrollment: 442

Proficiency (TVAAS): 4/5 overall, 5/5 in language arts, 3/5 in math, 3/5 in science

» In the 2018-19 school year, Soddy Middle joined 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

Enrollment: 1,227

Proficiency (TVAAS): 1/5 overall, 1/5 in language arts, 1/5 in math, 1/5 in science

Average ACT score: 21.1 composite

» In 2018, the school district introduced Future Ready Institutes, partnering with the local business community to offer career-themed education through small, targeted learning communities within each high school. SDHS is home to the Institute of Media and Entrepreneurship.

Sequoyah High

Enrollment: 343

Proficiency (TVAAS): 1/5 overall, 1/5 in language arts, 1/5 in math, 1/5 in science

Average ACT score: 16.9 composite

» Focused on vocations, this school offers courses in trades such as auto mechanics, welding, cosmetology and computer technologies, and houses the district's Future Ready Institute of Industrial Manufacturing. Students at Sequoyah have the ability to earn various industry certifications based on their selected program of study.

Ivy Academy Inc. (9-12)

Enrollment: 216

Proficiency (TVAAS): 2/5 overall, 3/5 in language arts, 1/5 in math, 2/5 in science

Average ACT score: 18.1

» 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 added 12 new classrooms, a library, and a covered outdoor area for students in the fall of 2018, and in August 2019, it will add a forest preschool in partnership with the local Wauhatchie School, which launched the first forest kindergarten in the state in 2015.

Source: 2018 State Report Card, HCDE, schools' websites

*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.

 

WHAT WE DO FOR FUN

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. The Wall of Honor also pays tribute to the city's strong service mentality, with new names added each year in a special ceremony on the first Saturday of May. Two lighted ball fields with snack bars and restrooms are also on-site. 9057-9199 Dayton Pike.

Kids Park

Features a basketball and pickleball courts, playgrounds, a walking track, two snack bars, a clay horseshoe court (check tournament information at www.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.

Scramble Alley Park

Includes a wood climbing maze for kids, picnic tables, and a 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. 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.

Big Soddy Creek Gulf

Offers hiking trails, mountain and gorge views, natural habitats, waterfalls, flora, 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.

 

DETAILS

BIG EVENT

Joining community events such as the annual Fourth of July celebration at Soddy Park and the Soddy-Daisy Christmas Parade, the Soddy, Daisy & Montlake Historical Association hosts a local history fair every year. Due to the overwhelming response, the association began partnering with the city for a family-fun "Pioneer Day," held the first Saturday of May at Poe's Tavern, a replica of the 1817 tavern that served as Hamilton County's first courthouse and county seat and as a hospital during the Civil War. The association also operates a museum open to the public. Visit soddydaisymuseum.com to learn more.

 

LOCAL LIBRARY

KELCURT Foundation Soddy-Daisy Library

9619 Dayton Pike, Suite C; 423-800-2367

Monday-Thursday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Friday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

» Library cards are free — though patrons are asked to donate one book, which is how 95% of the stock came to be. The facility celebrated its first anniversary in February 2019. It is open and available to everyone, not just Soddy-Daisy residents, and occupies about three-quarters of the 4,000-square-foot KelCurt Media office.

 

EAT FRESH

Affinity 42 Farmer & Artisan Market

When: Saturdays, 8 a.m. to noon, May-October

Where: Poe's Tavern, 9817 Dayton Pike

Local citizens bring homemade items: honey, quilts, candles, soaps, etc. and/or locally grown fruits and vegetables, for example.

 

CITY SERVICES

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

 

LOCAL RESOURCES

Soddy Daisy Food Bank: Serving more than 300 families monthly, the volunteer-run operation welcomes locals in need every Tuesday, providing USDA food supplemented with items from local supermarkets free of charge. The doors are opened at 7:30 a.m. for client sign-in and new client processing, and clients start arriving early in the morning. 331 Durham St. Call 423-760-3489.

Northside Neighborhood House: Promoting the independence of residents north of the river, NNH provides a hand up through education and direct assistance. The Soddy-Daisy location is due to move in May 2019, into a coffeehouse setting where it will collaborate with the city and other local aid organizations to provide assistance with rent and utilities, and more. Call 423-267-2217.

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