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Soddy-Daisy discusses park improvements

Pam Glaser, a Soddy-Daisy resident and senior planner with the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency, gave the Soddy-Daisy City Commission an update on the activities of the city’s Parks and Recreation board at the commission’s Feb. 6 meeting.

She said the RPA is in the middle of creating a comprehensive plan for Hamilton County that creates opportunity for economic development and makes optimal use of the area’s natural and cultural resources.

“This area is of great cultural and geographic interest,” Glaser said, adding that groups focused on various outdoor interests now see Soddy-Daisy as a destination. “We do have a very rich park system in Soddy-Daisy.”

Goals for the future include establishing programming rules and operational schedules for local parks, which are planned to be added to tourism websites as attractions, she said.

“Soddy-Daisy is such a neat community in that it’s tucked up against a mountain and we have these parks scattered throughout,” Glaser said.

She said the parks board is considering each area of Soddy-Daisy as a node or center.

“North Soddy” features Soddy Lake Park and Holly Park; “South Soddy” has the potential for trails connecting to Sequoyah Road; the “Daisy” area has Poe’s Tavern and the North Chickamauga Creek; and the “Gateway” area has Veteran’s Park.

She said the area’s main draw is Soddy Lake Park, which has the potential to expand 6 acres to the south to become a 35-acre park. Glaser noted that this is roughly the same size, or a little larger, than Chattanooga’s Coolidge Park.

Though Soddy Lake Park needs many improvements, she described it as “a jewel waiting to sparkle.” Possible future plans include tying the park more closely to the surrounding neighborhoods, encouraging the establishment of businesses in the area that can complement park use, creating a museum to tell Soddy-Daisy history and turning the senior center into more of a community center.

Glaser said the parks board collected feedback at the annual Punkin’ Fest in October from around 300 attendees in order to determine goals for the park. The projects people reported wanting range from public art to better signage. Some of the projects identified as most important are an expanded parking area, new playground equipment, better restrooms and ADA access and walking trails.

The parks board plans to apply for a grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to pay for improvements to the park. As such, three public meetings are required to held before the grant application is submitted, by April 11.