The city of Soddy Daisy has been given an opportunity to own 285 acres of land described as pristine wilderness filled with creeks and mountains. Plans had been for the property to be auctioned on July 19. Dr. Steven Quarfordt and his wife Tiffany, who have owned the land for the past 10 years, are civic-minded and in love with nature, and had reservations about how the land would be used if auctioned. They made the decision to instead, offer to sell it to Soddy Daisy at one third of its appraised value.
Thursday night the board of commissioners voted enthusiastically to buy the land and vowed to protect and keep it pristine. The appraised value is in excess of $3 million. It will be sold to Soddy Daisy for $1,158,000 paid over a four-year period.
The area is known locally as the Big Soddy Creek Gulf. The Justin P. Wilson State Park surrounds the property. The Cumberland Trail that is within that park is contiguous with the border of the newly acquired property. A road that Dr. Quarfordt built running along the creek is the only road that can access the Cumberland Trail in that section.
The Big Soddy Creek meanders throughout the property and is considered a world class stream by kayakers, said Henry Glascock, the realtor who is now brokering the sale versus conducting the auction. He described the land as “drop dead gorgeous,” and said that Ms. Quarfordt is anxious for it to be conserved and preserved. “It is Soddy Daisy’s good fortune,” he said. The Quarfordts have invested more than the sale price and will not make a profit, but will receive a tax deduction from the transaction.
The city will more than likely partner with a conservation group to ensure it remains unspoiled, said Mayor Janice Cagle, “We want to do it right.” Plans are for this wilderness area to be used by the public for camping, hiking and canoeing now and for generations to come. A spokesperson from the Regional Planning Agency said that two other large parks in the city will be joined by this new large parcel to create a series of connected parks in the city and “will put Soddy Daisy on the map.” It fits in with the outdoor mindset of the Chattanooga area, she said.