Farragut Board of Mayor and Adermen were split on the vote concerning McFee Park Master Plan Phase III, which involved entering into a design services contract with Ross/Fowler Architecture in Knoxville.
“I know there were concerns about the cost estimate,” David Craig of Ross/Fowler said during BOMA’s Thursday, Oct. 26, meeting. “We will stay with you through the whole thing.”
A contract for $61,000 “plus up to $10,000 in reimbursable expenses” according to a Board memorandum, Alderman Louise Povlin said, “I don’t support this [expenditure] at this time. When we looked at this in May and saw the cost double, my heart sank. We have not done anything for the Town Center.
“This is a lot of money for the park when the Town is on fire and we are sending the fire trucks to McFee Park,” she added.
“I agree. This is a huge expense,” Alderman Bob Markli said, adding the Town has other problems to face as well, such as inferior streets and shoring up Campbell Station Inn.
However, although he was not in favor of going ahead with work at McFee Park, Markli said he would not vote against it.
Vice Mayor Ron Pinchok defended the project. “We have been looking to this project for six years. There is [currently] no access to the park for property owners,” he said. “We should get the phase [completed] so citizens will at least have access.”
“When we did the survey [of residents], the Town Center was high on the list of priorities, but so was the park,” Alderman Ron Williams said. “This plan [for the park] is something to start with. We have not invested in a Town Center per se … we may have to get involved in that as well. It looks like we need to juggle both [Town Center and McFee Park].”
“We need to be careful as we proceed,” Markli said. “Be cautious.
The board ultimately voted 4-1, in favor of the contract with Kimley-Horn, so it can start with design work. Povlin voted against the motion.
“Before we get into much work with Ross/Fowler, we will need to do a clearing where the lawn will be so we can get a good topographic study,” Sue Stuhl, Farragut Parks & Leisure Services director, said. “Once we get the survey, there will be five stages to this phase.”
The Board also deliberated about approving contracts concerning ADA self-assessment services and engineering services for greenway and road projects.
The Board first discussed many of these items during a workshop before the regular meeting where it took action.
When it came up for action during the meeting, the Board voted 4-1 in favor of funding a part-time tourism director, with Markli voting against it. “I am vigorously opposed to hiring somebody,” he said.
On another matter, Board members voted unanimously in favor of entering into a contract with the engineering firm Kimley-Horn for $148,000, to provide a self-assessment and transition plan to address the Town’s compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
If the Board does not act on the self-assessment they could stand to lose state and federal grant money, said Janet Wedekind, Farragut Human Resources manager and ADA coordinator.
By using someone else, she said Kimley-Horn would not “risk professional certification. They would guarantee [their own] work would be approved by [Tennessee Department of Transportation].”
Resident John Nehls warned, “I just think it’s going to be more than $148,000.”
“I’m not happy we have to spend this money and we work very hard to comply, but we have to start somewhere,” Povlin said.
In other business, the Board voted unanimously to:
• Approve a $30,900 contract for engineering services with Urban Engineering Inc. for greenway plans on Smith Road.
• Approved a $38,900 contract with engineers Cannon & Cannon Inc. for an advanced traffic management system Phase I project at Watt Road and Kingston Pike.