New Soddy Daisy Fire Hall Not Yet Started Despite Major Gifts From Charitable Foundation

Friday, March 22, 2019 - by Gail Perry

Since it was formed in 1992, the Red Bank Soddy Daisy Charitable Foundation has contributed $770,000 to the city of Soddy Daisy. Over the years, the money has bought a fire engine, contributed to building a fire hall, and to moving and restoring Poe’s Tavern to its present location. Included in the gifts to the city have also been contributions that now total $244,000 to build another fire station that would serve the south end of the city. That money, which is in an interest-bearing account, has been given with the understanding that it is to be used only for that purpose.

 

Last year Soddy Daisy had planned to begin construction of the new facility, but the bids received were nearly double the expected amount.

The lowest estimate, after working to reduce the cost, came in at $2 million and so the project has been put on hold. In addition to the cost of the building, the city will also have to plan for staffing a new fire station.

 

Arnold Stulce, who serves on the Foundation’s board, told the commissioners that since construction has not yet begun on the new fire station #3, that no additional contributions will be made to the city at this time. The contribution this year for $23,200, instead, was intended for building a new Soddy Daisy Montlake Historical Society Museum. The city was asked to hold the money until construction started.

 

City Attorney Sam Elliott thanked Mr. Stulce and the foundation on behalf of the city for all they have done. But, he said, that arrangement raises legal issues since Soddy Daisy does not own the Historical Association. He said the city is not set up to transmit money to another entity. The foundation’s charter will not allow it to make the donation directly to the Historical Society, said Mr. Stulce, who left the meeting with the check.

 

Improvements within the city are being made with the help of other grants. City Manager Janice Cagle said that paving for the year has begun. This year the $500,000 budgeted for paving will fix around five miles of city roads.  Dayton Pike will be paved using an 80/20 percent federal grant. Soddy Daisy will be responsible for 20 percent of the cost.  

 

A new playground at Kids North Park by Soddy Lake will be built with a $330,000 grant that the city will match. It will be moved from the present location that suffers from drainage problems to the location of old tennis courts that are now closed. Work is expected to begin in late summer after the design has been bid out.

 

The banks of Little Soddy Creek which collapsed during heavy rains last summer will be stabilized using a grant from the emergency watershed protection program fund. Mayor Gene Shipley would like to thank Congressman Chuck Fleischmann for helping Soddy Daisy get the grant.

 

A public hearing and first reading was held to change zoning for a tract of land located at 12503 Old Dayton Pike. There were no speakers at the meeting either for or against the rezoning which had been approved by the planning commission. The ordinance to change the designation passed unanimously. Mayor Shipley said that building sites for around 125 new homes will soon be available on that property at the north end of Dayton Pike. “That’s big for Soddy Daisy,” he said.

 

Vice Mayor Robert Cothran said the city is talking about making improvements to Holly Park that would add facilities to support bass fishing tournaments. There is a boat ramp now, but another ramp, a dock and more parking would be needed, said the city manager.

 

A representative from Northside Neighborhood came to the Thursday night meeting to tell the commissioners about new programs that are being offered. The agency has grown and is in the process of moving to a different location. New programs include parenting classes, child therapy and advocacy programs, computer classes, providing rent and utility assistance and opening a public coffee house. During the flood in Soddy Daisy in the summer of 2018, Northside Neighborhood helped 10 households and provided $11,000 of assistance to people who were affected. Mayor Shipley volunteered to remodel the bathroom in the new building as a way to give back to the organization.  

 

 


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