Citizens sound off at meetings on Town strategic plan

A dozen Farragut residents gave their input about Town of Farragut’s strategic plan during an informal public meeting last week.

Some said they wanted high-quality retail to fill and renovate vacant commercial centers, while others wanted to develop a Town Center, add a downtown parking garage or develop a major road plan.

“What would you like to see Farragut become?” Town administrator David Smoak asked.

“Pedestrian friendly … better connected,” attendee Carol King said. “Less cars.”

Robin Hill said he would like to see more technology companies moving into Farragut to create more employment.

Larry Whiteside said while growth is inevitable, he thinks it is important “to maintain what we’ve got, the thing that attracted us all here.”

The gathering, which took place in Farragut Town Hall Tuesday, Aug. 29, was one of two public meetings to give Town leaders input on its strategic planning process. Six residents attended the first meeting, which took place Monday, Aug. 28.

“We’re having a very good response [to a survey] online,” Smoak said. “We had these meetings for people who wanted to speak in person.”

He said the Town has had a strategic plan for several years.

“Every year, we update it on the year’s goals, objectives and things we want to get accomplished for those years, but this year we want to go back, test the plan and figure out what do we need to do. You’re here tonight to let us know if we are on the right track,” Smoak said.

In reference to the Town’s vision statement: “Farragut — a home, a destination, a connected community that lives closer and goes further,” Smoak asked the gathering, “I’d like you to talk about what that means to you, to live closer and go further?”

“My comment is what a waste of money,” attendee Nancy Wentz said. “The new [‘Welcome to

Farragut’] signs, the ones that

are green are horrible [for visibility]. You can’t see the white lettering. The ones that are dark blue are OK.

“I think [the vision statement is] marketing, and I’m anti-marketing,” she added.

“I think a lot of people don’t know what [live closer, go further] means or what the concept was around it when it was developed,” said Joy Whiteside, a Ford Cove Lane resident.

“What does live closer mean to you?” Smoak asked.

“Convenient,” a resident answered.

“Living close enough that we have everything we need in a well-defined area,” Larry Whiteside said.

“Being closer to people and knowing them well,” attendee Jessalyn Friske said.

“Having good medical facilities nearby …” Joy Whiteside said.

“What about ‘go further’?” Smoak asked.

“Achieve more … go further in life … expanding horizons” were some of the responses.

“Does that mean, maybe, because Farragut is a little more prestigious?” Terri Lenoci, a Smoke Creek Lane resident, asked.

Attendees were asked to look at statements regarding “critical success factors” of the community, such as “providing excellent parks, recreation, cultural amenities and programs.”

Attendees also discussed the Town’s buildings, infrastructure and assets; the Town’s financial position; collaborating with regional leadership in “advancing a high-quality-built environment;” supporting the Town’s workforce and promoting Farragut’s retail and services as a destination.

Residents agreed they would like to see more cultural events. Cheryl Nehls said she would like to see more events, such as the Go & Glow event Farragut Business Alliance previously held.