Wednesday, August 31, 2011
The Soddy-Daisy Christmas Parade is back to its old route after town officials’ earlier ruling to change the parade’s location to the north end resulted in public uproar.
Commissioners voted unanimously at a called meeting Aug. 25 to leave the parade route as it has historically been held on the south end of Dayton Pike, stretching from Daisy Methodist Church to Bi-Lo in the town’s main business district. The decision reversed a vote from Aug. 4, when commissioners decided to change the route to the north end of Dayton Pike reaching from Christ Family Church around Soddy Lake and terminating on Hixson Pike near the old Winn-Dixie.
The Aug. 4 vote was unanimous among commissioners aside from Shane Harmon, who chose to abstain in favor of allowing members of the public an opportunity to voice their opinion.
Town officials originally made the change for financial reasons, citing excessive expenses for additional police, lost sales tax revenue from businesses affected by the parade and additional costs for cleanup.
“It’s been in discussion for several years,” Commissioner Geno Shipley explained at the Aug. 4 meeting. “This is an economic thing — we spend a bunch of money to have a parade, and if we don’t watch what we’re doing, we can get in trouble real quick.”
On Aug. 18, resident and longtime Soddy-Daisy businessman Ronnie McNeil presented commissioners with a petition signed by more than 200 residents and 15 local businesses, including Walmart and Bi-Lo, who were against the change.
“Nobody we talked to had any objection to this parade staying where it’s at [on the south end of town],” said McNeil.
“I’m totally opposed to moving it,” said Soddy-Daisy resident Allen Lewis.
In light of the petition, Commissioner Shane Harmon made a motion Aug. 18 to reverse the earlier decision but his motion died for lack of a second.
After further consideration and examination of the petition presented by McNeil, commissioners called a special meeting Aug. 25 to change the parade back to its original location, as Shipley was to be out of town for the next regularly scheduled meeting.
Commissioners voted unanimously to change the parade back to its original location on the south end after Shipley introduced the motion Aug. 25.
“I appreciate how [McNeil] handled the petition,” said Harmon. “If someone goes out and spends their own time and their own money to change something, then it’s worth listening to.”