The Soddy Daisy business district will be getting an additional lane and two revamped intersections. Commissioners Thursday night, signed off on a design for the project that affects Dayton Pike where it runs between Walmart on one side and Zaxby’s and Taco Bell on the other. A turn lane and traffic signal will be added at the north entrance that accesses the two restaurants.
The traffic signal will be added to the plan at the city’s expense for a cost of $190,000. The Southern entrance that is currently blocked will be permanently closed. The remaining intersection of the north entrance will be left as is, with full access, but the cost will also be figured with islands that would direct the traffic right in and right out. Having both cost estimates will help commissioners decide which option to use. Changes can be made until construction begins. The entrance opposite the one under discussion that leads into Walmart will remain unchanged.
Commissioners voted to begin the process of acquisition for the temporary easements that are needed for the road, using city funds because the project would be delayed another six months if the request goes back to TDOT asking for more funding.
A public hearing will be held concerning this road work at a time to be determined.
The commissioners approved the engineering firm Wiser based in Nashville for this road work on City Manager Hardie Stulce’s recommendation. It is estimated that the engineering plan will be ready in three-four weeks and the city will be ready to make the acquisitions in three-four months.
Mr. Stulce also reported to the commissioners that the city is preparing to apply for a Community Development Block Grant of $200,000 to build a new fire hall on the south end of the city, replacing the number 3 hall. The city manager also recommended using the architectural firm of Brewer, Ingram and Fuller from Knoxville for the design work that must be done before the deadline of Feb. 25, when the grant request must be submitted. Chief Guffey and representatives from the fire department have all been included in determining the needs for this station.
Also, Fire Chief Mike Guffey came to the commissioners requesting the purchase of a heavy duty rescue truck for the department that he said has been located. He was given approval to travel and inspect the vehicle, and was authorized to spend up to $50,000 for the truck that comes with equipment. Mayor Janice Cagle suggested keeping the old truck and equipment since the city is growing.
It has come to the attention of the city manager that during two periods of extended military leave for Police Chief Phillip Hamrick, retirement benefits were not paid. Mr. Stulce asked the commissioners for a voucher approval of around $4,000 to make up this void, which was unanimously approved.
Authorization was also made for the purchase of two city vehicles at the state contract price. Last year $55,000 was approved for these cars, one for the city recorder Burt Johnson, and the other to be left at Town Hall that will be used as needed. It was decided that a Ford Taurus and a Ford Explorer would be bought.
Statistics of general interest to the city have been compiled by Mr. Stulce. Last year, 14,789 documented calls came in for the Police Department and 992 for the fire department. A total of 81,704 calls came through the dispatch center, it was stated. Chief Hamrick said the Soddy Daisy police department has a case clearance rate of 70 percent - much higher than that of the surrounding municipalities which is one of the reasons that there has been a 30 percent reduction of reported crimes during the last five years in Soddy Daisy.
Mayor Cagle also re-appointed Commissioner Jim Adams to be Soddy Daisy’s representative to the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority (WWTA). He is willing to serve another term, is familiar with the organization and has done a good job, she said.
Trophies were handed out at the meeting for winners of the Soddy Daisy Christmas parade which was said to be the biggest yet with beautiful floats. The winner in the “church” category was Stuart Heights Baptist Church, and in the “organization” category, the winner was the Middle Valley cheerleaders. The Sale Creek cheerleaders won for the “school”, Mark’s Toys was the “business” winner and the “judge’s choice” went to Thunder Ridge Raceway.
The commissioners presented a proclamation to the local Bi-Lo grocery store. This was to honor the business as a leader in the community for its support and contributions to the Soddy Daisy food bank. In the past year, donations of 120,000 pounds of food were made. At the meeting Thursday night, a donation of $10,000 was made to the same organization by a representative from Bi-Lo.