Reply to Smith’s reply
Dixie Lee-Reply To Comment: I appreciate Ms. Mona Smith looking at this project and taking time to comment on my article. Our views may not coincide, but I wish a massive dialog with many more people could have started earlier, but this expensive and travel altering project that [Tennessee Department of Transporatation] has invented slipped under my radar.
I was incorrect in stating that the project is entirely in Lenoir City when I should have said Loudon County. My point was intended to be that none of the project is in Farragut, but the residents will be affected by the changes, including the cost (80 percent federal/20 percent state) both of which come out of our pocket. Just a final note on cost, When TDOT shows the cost for the three finalist options, they range from $2 million to $3.6 million, but they neglect to show right of way at $5.2 million and other costs making the total $8.5 million. TDOT is proceeding with Option 2 as summarized in Adam [Alan] Sloan’s July14, 2016, article in farragutpress and on TDOT’s website.
Two principal needs have been cited for the project: 1) traffic projections for 2035 and 2) Traffic problems. Regarding the first, you don’t have to build now for a projection mature date of 2035. You could make some improvements in the existing traffic arrangement, which could address traffic and safety that could take you up to 2026 (10 years), then look at the traffic picture and see what might be needed at that point.
As to the second need, I only mentioned adding a turn lane as an example for improving the present arrangement. There should also be a clear frontage road where now the road has broken pavement, holes and other debris. If there are rush hour backups on US 70 East, a traffic light could be installed for rush hour operation with flashing yellow for US 11 and flashing red for cross traffic at other times. It could also be key operated by law enforcement personnel. Ms. Smith cites “11 places within a few feet of the existing junction that allow ingress and egress to Highway 11, making this a very dangerous area-… .” My map shows these places about a hundred feet apart, not “a few feet.” It should be noted that in contrast to Ms Smith’s 11 danger points for the present arrangement, TDOT’s Option 2 has 23 intersection conflict points. As far as an accident on I-40 creating a traffic jam on US 70, this can happen anywhere, anytime and we don’t build roads or intersections for that happenstance. With regard to a possible new school on Wilkerson Lane and US 70, if that does materialize, the majority of the resultant traffic should be westbound. Why would Loudon school students and teachers be going eastbound toward Knox County?
With regard to TDOT’s rejection of Option 4 (the roundabout/traffic circle option), they may not be familiar with the tweaking done by other states where they use shortcut lanes that shunt traffic just before you would make a right turn off the circle. Those cars never actually enter the circle. If you do that with all four right hand turn elements of the circle, traffic in the circle itself could be significantly reduced, and better yet, NO TRAFFIC LIGHTS.
Why can’t we fix some of the shortcomings of the present arrangement at a much reduced cost and see where we are in 2026, as opposed to spending $8.5 million today.
Response to Dick’s criticism
In the August 25, 2016 issue of the Farragut Press you ran an article concerning a Mr. Gauldiano’s proposal for the rezoning of a piece of property he owns on Grigsby Chapel Rd. The change in zoning would allow for the development of an assisted living facility. I don’t have an issue with the gentleman’s proposal one way or the other. The reason for my letter is to comment on the response of one of the FMPC members, Betty Dick, made in criticism of the proposal. The following is the comment from your paper attributed to Ms Dick:
“Betty Dick said she wanted to see how the two other homes for the elderly, Autumn Care along Herron Road and Goodworks LLC along Smith Road, did before approving the proposal.”
“‘Elderly people don’t spend too much … I don’t want a town of elderly people,’ she said.”
For your information Ms. Dick, those “elderly people” that reside in assisted living facilities are spending money, and a lot of it. I know that they would all prefer to be able to be out patronizing local businesses. No doubt, they all did so for many years. “Elderly people” surely don’t deserve to be belittled by your comments whether they live in an assisted living facility or not. We got old. You may also.
I hope the majority of members of the FMPC have the ability and the desire to base their planning decisions on facts and common sense.
Caller fails to research FBA matters
To the unnamed person who called into presstalk last week regarding the executive director of the [Farragut Business Alliance], one phone call or one e-mail to any one of the members on the FBA board would have served you well.
Allison Sousa made sure that we were in a good position regarding the Farragut Food & Wine Festival before she left. In fact, she reached out to her right hand woman who has been involved in the planning and execution of this event in the past and asked her to take on the management of this event.
Beyond this event, Allison made sure she organized all records, compiled all outstanding items that required more action, and walked me through all of our online sites to make sure every aspect of our online activity was understood so we could continue to operate when she moved on. She left highly detailed information about every aspect of the FBA that she handled and being that she was the event planner, marketing manager, social media and technology manager, business counselor, bookkeeper, fundraiser and handled a whole host of other duties, there was a lot to know.
She served the town of Farragut with passion and integrity. She dedicated her time and talents and pushed herself, sometimes to the point of exhaustion, in service to our community, to strengthen not only our business community but our community as a whole and she’s not even a resident. This was not “just a job” for her and she set a high bar for the next executive director.
I will miss Allison, not just for the reasons set forth above, but also for her humor, her warmth and her positive attitude. Her new employer is blessed to have her.
FBA Board Member
FBA comments cause frustration
I have read Letters to the Editor and presstalk over the last several weeks and can’t help but be frustrated by the remarks regarding the Farragut Business Alliance (FBA).
The people making the remarks have not attended FBA or Economic Development Committee meetings. Attending these meetings, along with the various budget and economic development workshops, would serve to educate interested citizens about the efforts that are being made to solidify the economic future of Farragut. The board members involved are committing their personal and professional time to work with the town, learn what other communities are doing and learn from the consultants who are employed by the town on how we can move forward without incurring any additional taxes on the citizens of our community. Specifically, the FBA is working to attract and recruit businesses to our town. In addition, they are working to strengthen the business community and to provide opportunities for businesses to support each other and our community through the community events.
The Town of Farragut is funded in an unconventional and seemingly unsustainable manner. We have managed to make this work for 36 years. But, we, as a town, are facing some big financial hurtles. We are looking at a $55 million road improvement program (all state funds have been expended) and a $3 million storm water drain replacement project. The town sets aside $3 million a year for capital improvements, so we have a serious shortfall over the next 10 years to make these improvements happen. Since we are dependent on sales tax collections to fund our community we either have to grow that base or look for other means to raise money (taxes).
So please quit being part of the problem by taking “shots” at the people who have committed their time to strengthen our community; and become part of the solution by making the effort to get involved and attend the meetings to really learn what is being done on your behalf.
Farragut Business Alliance