If you're looking for a family-oriented neighborhood, Carolyn Isom says Brainerd is right up your alley.
Isom is president of the Brainerd Park Neighborhood Association, and she's lived in Brainerd for about 22 years. She and her husband raised five children there and she says she wouldn't pick any other place to live.
"It's a pretty good area," Isom says. "It's quiet. Everybody knows each other. It's safe."
Safety is especially important to her, she adds. Isom likes to take walks through her neighborhood.
One of her favorite aspects about Brainerd is its central location. It's conveniently nestled near Interstate 75, which runs through all of Chattanooga's main suburbs, and Brainerd is midway between Hamilton Place mall and downtown Chattanooga, earning it its unofficial "midtown" title.
Another thing Isom really likes is the familiarity built among neighbors.
"I've been here for a long time," she says. "I know my neighbors, and if I don't know them by name, we know each other by face."
Eastgate Town Center: Located at 5600 Brainerd Road, the center houses various state agencies, two satellite college campuses and a host of medical and insurance administration offices. Formerly a shopping mall, it today features a handful of retail establishments as well as the Eastgate Senior Center.
Brainerd Rec Center: The facility, at 1010 N. Moore Road, features a computer lab, arts and crafts room, reading resource center, community meeting rooms, indoor pool, a dance studio and a game room. It also has a full-size gym and 11 tennis courts.
She also likes to spend her time at the Brainerd Recreation Center, a public facility run by the city of Chattanooga. The center offers many different activities for all ages, but Isom's favorite is line dancing.
A lesser-known local landmark is the Brainerd Mission Cemetery. The oldest cemetery in Hamilton County, it also connects the area to Native American history.
The Brainerd Mission was started in 1817 by a group of New Englanders sent by the federal government to teach the Cherokees "the ways of the white man," including Christianity and a classic education, the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau's website states. The one-acre site is a shadow of the original mission, which consisted of a church, dormitories, two mills and a large garden. It was abandoned when the Cherokees were removed from the area in 1838 and forced on the Trail of Tears, a path that runs through the site.
While the cemetery is all that remains of the development that spawned Brainerd, the area is far from dead.
"There's a lot to do and [Brainerd] is thriving," Isom says. "It's growing. I like it."
BY THE NUMBERS
WHO WE ARE
Median household income: $39,176 (2016 estimates)
Median age: 38.1
Black or African-American: 54.6%
Two or more races: 3.9%
*Information is for 37411 ZIP code, which extends beyond Brainerd.
Source: American FactFinder
WHERE WE LIVE
Median sales price: $116,500 in 2017; $90,900 in 2016
Homes for sale: 73 in 2017; 97 in 2016
Property values: 28.2% increase from 2016 to 2017
Source: Greater Chattanooga Realtors annual report
Barger Academy of Fine Arts
Proficiency (TVAAS): 1/5 overall, 2/5 in literacy, 1/5 in numeracy
Spring Creek Elementary (preK-5)
Proficiency (TVAAS): 3/5 overall, 5/5 in literacy, 1/5 in numeracy
Woodmore Elementary (preK-5)
Proficiency (TVAAS): 1/5 overall, 3/5 in literacy, 1/5 in numeracy
Proficiency (TVAAS): 1/5 overall, 2/5 in literacy, 1/5 in numeracy
Proficiency (TVAAS): 1/5 overall, 1/5 in literacy, 1/5 in numeracy
ACT scores: 15.5 composite, 13.7 in English, 16 in math, 15.4 in reading, 16.2 in science
Source: 2017 State Report Card
*The Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System scale runs from 1-5, with 1 denoting the least effective schools/districts and least amount of progress toward the Standard for Academic Growth.
WHAT WE DO FOR FUN
Brainerd Golf Course
It's one of the city's oldest golf courses and features lots of rolling acreage and large trees. The course has a full-service pro shop and snack bar, and leagues and lessons are readily available for all ages and abilities. Features 18 holes, pro shop, snack bar, tee times seven days a week. Tee times available up to 48 hours in advance. 5303 Old Mission Road. Call 423-855-2692.
Two-acre park featuring a walking trail, playground and pavilion. 5205 Tacoa Circle.
Surrounding the Brainerd Recreation Center, this park offers 11 tennis courts and open fields. 1010 N. Moore Road.
Eastgate Senior Center
Operated by the city of Chattanooga, it provides free educational and recreational resources for local seniors, including billiards, table tennis, board games and puzzles, knitting, arts and crafts, walking club, fitness equipment and Wii Sports games. It also houses a library and computer lab. 5600 Brainerd Road. Call 423-855-9444.
Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine & Sushi Bar
5845 Brainerd Road
Food is prepared with authentic ingredients like lemongrass, galangal and Thai basil. More than 40 selections of soups, appetizers, salads and noodles are offered.
5966 Brainerd Road
The wide variety features flavors from the Mediterranean and Middle East, as well as classic American sandwiches.
Bud's Sports Bar
5751 Brainerd Road
Enjoy fine casual dining, from hot dogs to prime ribs. The bar is also known for its live music and karaoke. There's always something happening, no matter which night of the week.
Brainerd Farmers Market
WHEN: Every Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. Where: Grace Episcopal Church, 20 Belvoir Ave.
The market is open year-round, but during the winter season, it transitions from two hours down to a one-hour market. You can find seasonal produce and fruits, as well as local meats. Breads, pastries, soaps and lotions, plants, baskets, textiles and other handicrafts are also sold.
Brainerd doesn't have its own municipal government and is instead governed by the city of Chattanooga.
The Chattanooga City Council meets every Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Council Building behind city hall, located at 1000 Lindsay St. The meeting is live-streamed, as are the preceding agenda session and department reports, which start at 3 p.m. View meetings at ustream.tv/channel/chattanooga-council-meeting. View agenda sessions at ustream.tv/channel/city-council-committee-meeting.
Recycling: The city offers free curbside recycling and provides containers for the single-stream service. Save for glass, most household items are accepted. Call 311 to see if your address lies within the pickup area.
5705 Marlin Road; 423-643-7770; Monday and Thursday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday: 1-5 p.m.
Held annually in August, the Minority Health Fair, hosted by the Southeast Tennessee Health Consortium, offers mammograms, prostate exams, blood pressure readings, dental exams and more — free of charge — at Eastgate Town Center. Visit sethc.org/MHF.