Tim Thornbury, Red Bank's public works director, has lived in the small city encircled by Chattanooga for more than 40 years. It's the place where he grew up and the place where he raised his children, and he has no plans to relocate.
"I raised my family here," he says. "There was always a girls softball team, Dixie Youth baseball, numerous parks and ball grounds."
Beyond its small-townness, Red Bank's proximity to downtown Chattanooga makes it a great place to live, says Red Bank Mayor John Roberts. He's lived in the city for more than a decade.
Red Bank residents pay a lower property tax rate than people in Chattanooga, he points out, yet they live close enough to get all of the benefits of a big city.
And Red Bank has Dub's Place, an old-school style diner that's been around for at least 50 years and which sells some of the best hamburgers and barbecue sandwiches in the city, Roberts says.
The website niche.com, based on data as well as personal reviews, gives the town a "B" for housing, being a good place for families and having a low cost of living. Red Bank also ranks a "B" for its diversity and weather, and an "A" for outdoor activities. Its public schools and crime garner a "C."
In a review of the town on niche.com, one former resident describes Red Bank as an "OK" place to live — very close to downtown and boasting "a very great athletic school," but the reviewer complains that there is nothing to do at night.
Charlotte Mabry, a local Realtor with Keller Williams who grew up in the town, says everything about Red Bank is on the upswing.
Both population and property values are increasing. The average list price of a home in Red Bank's 37415 ZIP code is $201,000, and prices for new listings reach up to the $400,000 range, says Mabry, who has been selling homes for more than 30 years. Less than a decade ago, the average price in Red Bank was around $79,000.
No new construction exists in Red Bank for under $200,000, she says, and it's mostly young families coming to purchase the three-story homes, which older couples tend to avoid.
Mabry attributes this swell to Red Bank's proximity to the North Shore. The hip area just shy of downtown is a place where everyone wants to be, she says — and a place where the average price has surged to $300,000 and above and new construction is primarily apartments and condos.
"What's driving Red Bank is what happened to the North Shore," she says. "So what's the closest thing to North Shore? Red Bank."
BY THE NUMBERS
WHO WE ARE
Median household income: $36,596
Population: 11,794 (2016 estimates)
Median age: 37.9
Black or African-American: 5.9%
American Indian or native Alaskan: 0.2%
Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 0.1%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race): 6.4%
Two or more races: 2%
*Does not equal 100% due to overlap.
Source: American FactFinder
WHERE WE LIVE
Median home price: $170,000 in 2017; $124,000 in 2016
Percentage change: 37.1%
Number of homes for sale: 3 in 2017; 2 in 2016
Percentage change: 50%
Source: Greater Chattanooga Realtors 2017 annual report
» At least 10 homes were under construction in spring 2018. None of them sold for under $200,000, Mabry says. Some prices exceeded $400,000.
Alpine Crest Elementary School (K-5)
Proficiency (TVAAS): 2/5 overall, 3/5 in literacy, 3/5 in numeracy
» Education here goes beyond the traditional classroom and curriculum. The school features an extensive outdoor classroom developed by a group of volunteers from the local Master Gardeners group. And in addition to the trails, gardening plots, butterfly garden and other opportunities outside, students have the unique option to take violin lessons with instruments and weekly lessons provided at no cost.
Red Bank Elementary School (K-5)
Proficiency (TVAAS): 1/5 overall, 4/5 in literacy, 1/5 in numeracy
» The first public forest kindergarten in Hamilton County, Red Bank Elementary's pilot program was so popular in the first year alone — twice as many families as anticipated were interested in the class — that a lottery was held to fill the 20 available slots. The school added an additional class in 2017-18 to help meet the demand. Students in the program spend half the day outside and half the day inside in order to meet state success standards, though educators at the school said the forest kindergarten students finished the first year on par with the regular kindergarten classes, and they've also noticed benefits like improved communication and problem solving.
Rivermont Elementary (preK-5)
Proficiency (TVAAS): 1/5 overall, 3/5 in literacy, 1/5 in numeracy
Red Bank Middle School
Proficiency (TVAAS): 1/5 overall, 5/5 in literacy, 1/5 in numeracy
Red Bank High School
Proficiency (TVAAS): 4/5 overall, 4/5 in literacy, 2/5 in numeracy
» ACT scores: 19 composite, 17.8 in English, 18.6 in math, 20 in reading, 19.2 in science
» A joint partnership among several area nonprofits and the school district, the "Community School" at Red Bank High is the first in the county. A variety of programs are offered, from after-school tutoring and college prep to fitness classes to entrepreneurial opportunities. Students may get extra help with school work while parents or other community members study to receive a state-issued high school equivalency credential, for example. The school connects with community partners to offer an evolving menu of services.
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
One of the oldest playgrounds in Red Bank, the all-wood Kids Korner is being renovated with an engineered wood. The update will also make the playground ADA-accessible. Moms note that the area is fenced and shaded. 3817 Redding Road.
Red Bank Pool
Open to all, the facility features covered picnic areas and a mushroom fountain in the kiddie pool. Though run by volunteers, the pool is fully staffed by certified lifeguards. Open from the Saturday before Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend, general admission is $4 for age 3 and older and $3 for seniors over age 60. Free for children under age 3. 3620 Tom Weathers Drive. Call 423-877-7004.
White Oak Recreation Park
The Chattanooga Moms blog lists this green space and playground as a hidden gem. Several large, covered picnic pavilions overlook the expansive field, and there's a small play area with swings, plastic slides and climbing apparatus. 798 Ben Miller Pkwy.
Red Bank Dog Park
Located adjacent to White Oak Park, the separately fenced areas for large and small dogs offer a popular place for dogs to play off-leash. 798 Ben Miller Pkwy.
LOOKOUT FARMERS MARKET
When: Mondays, in season, from 4-7 p.m. Where: Kids Korner/Town Center Park, 3901 Dayton Blvd.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
For more than 40 years, Red Bank has hosted the MoonPie Festival and Jubilee Parade, featuring vendors, food, music and fun for the whole family near the end of May. There's also an annual Christmas Parade & Festival in December. The Red Bank Artisan Festival in October is relatively new in the annual roundup.
The Red Bank City Commission meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at city hall, 3117 Dayton Blvd. Agendas, minutes and commissioners' contacts can be found at redbanktn.gov under the "Commissions" tab.
Recycling: Red Bank does not offer curbside recycling, but has a recycling drop-off center in connection with Hamilton County at 4851-B Dayton Blvd. Most household items save for used motor oil are accepted Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.