Soddy Daisy is increasingly being considered an outdoor destination, officials said Thursday. People come to the city for cycling, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, running and baseball among other things.
Soddy Daisy “is a jewel just waiting to sparkle,” said Pam Glaser from the Regional Planning Agency, and a resident of Soddy Daisy, who gave a presentation about the future of city parks to the board of commissioners. She has been working with the parks and recreation department for the past year, to start the process of developing a master plan concerning parks and greenways spread across the city.
Soddy Daisy is fortunate to be located between a lake and a mountain and the recreational opportunities are abundant, she said. There are seven existing parks throughout the city limits, and Ms. Glaser told the commissioners that there is possibly Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) grant money available for making improvements to them. These are matching grants so the city will have to determine the amount to apply for, and priorities will need to be established for the order of projects to be done. She said this would be a long term project taking five to 10 years to put together.
To help with the process, the suggestion was made to have a landscape architectural firm design and engineer a master plan with a concentration on Soddy Lake Park. This is a large park of 29 acres, with an adjoining six acres that could be acquired increasing the size to 35 acres, making it larger than Coolidge Park in Chattanooga. A survey taken at the Pumpkin Fest last fall, showed that the biggest needs at this park are new playground equipment, long walking trails, restrooms with ADA access, and increased parking areas.
Southeastern Tennessee Development District is available to help write the grant request, but the deadline for submitting an application is April 11, and three public meetings to get input are required before then. It was recognized that decisions will need to be made quickly if the commissioners want to apply for a grant this year. If one is awarded to Soddy Daisy, the city would have two years to match the grant. More discussion about this will take place at the next commission meeting.
In new business, commissioners approved adopting the 2013-2014 general fund budget which was explained as a “house-keeping” matter that was necessary to account for all revenues and expenditures from various grants and projects made by the city.
The classification and pay plan for city employees for fiscal year 2013-2014 was amended due to the hiring of two new employees. An additional firefighter and public works employee were added after the budget had been approved. The position for a second new firefighter will be created when the next budget is developed.
Commissioners also voted to submit an application for a community development block grant for building a new fire hall.
Recorder Burt Johnson informed the commissioners that a $3.2 million contract with TDOT is now complete and ready to be signed. The Federal highway administration funded a grant for this re-paving project.
State Rep. Richard Floyd presented a proclamation from the state of Tennessee House of Representatives congratulating Sallie Rawlston for winning second place in the Jeopardy Kids Week tournament for 2013. She is now 11, but was 10 when she competed with 15 other children who had been culled from 250 contestants. He told her that she had made the whole state proud.