‘Wish list’ 2018 from Town leaders

What improvements in Town of Farragut should be, or hopefully would be, accomplished or well under way by Dec. 31, 2018?

Many Town leaders answered that question on their priority “wish list” for 2018.

Farragut Board

of Mayor and Aldermen:

Alderman Ron Williams, who also serves on the Board of Zoning Appeals and is running for Town Mayor this year, said “there is a lot of easy stuff” to address.

“Progress on Union Road and Virtue Road … are both the highest priority,” he said. “There are plans for both; things like that take time.

“I would like to see progress in McFee Park … and on the Russell House; and a new Town Center is of key importance,” he added.

Regarding empty buildings, Williams suggested the Board might be willing “to pass a resolution [to address that issue].”

“People are complaining, especially about the old Ingles building, which has really become a health hazard, especially since no one is in it now.”

“We can’t get all this this accomplished in one year; but if we just make a little movement on all of it, we will have a successful year.”

Mayor Ralph McGill acknowledged “we have a lot of balls in the air” right now.

“We have to do something about Virtue Road; I think we will be able to get something started this year, maybe not finished, but started,” he added. “That is really the big one: it is becoming a problem traffic-wise.

“We [also] will be talking about McFee Park. There will be a lot of discussion about that — whether to go big time [with expansion] or to slow it down.”

Vice Mayor/Alderman Ron Pinchok said by the end of 2018, he would like to see a “completion of the mapping and assessment of the stormwater infrastructure for the three subdivisions we contracted.”

Pinchok also said he is eager for the Tourism coordinator position to be filled, and echoed the need for progress on Phase III of the McFee Park Expansion and completing the stabilization [Phase II] of Campbell Station Inn.

Aldermen Bob Markli said he would like to see four things accomplished in 2018.

“First, I would like to see the pedestrian tunnel under Kingston Pike at Campbell Station at North Turkey Creek completed, which is on our agenda for this year,” he said. “Hopefully, that will get done.”

Second, he also would like to see a formal plan on the pedestrian walking trail from West End Drive, on the north side of Kingston Pike from Concord Road, all the way up behind Costco and up to the Turkey Creek shopping area.

“That’s a major pedestrian loop following the creek all the way up to Parkside Drive,” Markli said.

Third, he said, “I would like to see the silly ‘No guns allowed in Town Hall’ decal scraped off the doors of Town Hall.”

Fourth, he said, “I would like to see Union Road improvements under way. Union Road’s moving along. That’s something I really pushed for.”

Alderman Louise Povlin said, “from a planning perspective, I believe land is the foundation from which community prosperity is built and sustained. We should be very intentional about how the remaining parcels, particularly the large ones, in our Town develop. … I would like to see an updated plan presented to the Farragut Municipal Planning Commission in 2018.

“In the past we have had a tendency to improve our roads with only automobiles in mind,” she added. “ … For example, street trees weren’t included along the sidewalks and trails along our collectors and arterials. Street trees provide shade for the pedestrian and make for a more pleasant and appealing walk or run. Also, street trees provide a canopy over the street that can help to calm traffic, something we are in desperate need of. … Again, community input is needed.”

“Another goal is to review and update our traffic calming policy. We have a speeding issue in our town and it is negatively impacting the quality of life in our community.”

Farragut Municipal

Planning Commission:

“I would like to see some of the property that is vacant have a plan,” FMPC Chairwoman Rita Holladay said. “I don’t expect it to be booming business in some of those places, but I would like to see a plan.

“Also, I realize that it’s out of Town of Farragut’s hands,” she added. “The Town can’t make the property owners do things with filling the property, but at least I would like to see the people communicating better with the Town, and at least having an overall plan as [to] what the future could hold for those properties.”

Holladay said she would like to see the properties look better, possibly through summertime mowing and performing general building maintenance.

“I’m always using the word aesthetics, but letting [properties] run down is a big ‘no’ with me. If it’s going to be vacant, at least let it look better,” she added.

The Town’s push to “implement best practices for traffic calming [measures]” was another priority for Holladay.

“Again, I know there’s a lot the Town can’t do anything about. It’s not the responsibility of the Town,” she added.

Commissioner Rose Ann Kile also noted the need to address building vacancies. “I’d like to see some of these vacant buildings filled up,” she said. “I think that was one of the items on the strategic plan that David [Smoak, Town administrator] went over the other day in the [FMPC] meeting [Dec. 21], and that was one of my pet [items].”

Commissioner Ed St. Clair said, “My expectations of the coming year are [that] we’ve got a good vision and a base in place. It’s a matter of now following through on the redevelopment of several things in the Town and the focus on the Town Center, plus this redevelopment of the two corners — the Phillips 66 [former convenience store at the corner of Kingston Pike and North Campbell Road] site and certainly the [former] Silver Spoon site [at the corner of Kingston Pike and South Campbell Station Road].

“And … of course, the new development that was supposed to go in close to the [Village] Veterinary [Clinic] on the north side of Kingston Pike, so that whole area’s got potential, but we need to see some realization of those plans in 2018,” he added.

“Also, I think the continuity — the election is coming up in 2018, too — and the energy that could be brought with folks in new positions, I think it’s important to not be radically changing the course, but to bring some interesting energy and ideas on, particularly, the re-development of the Town.”

As for vacant buildings, St. Clair said, “I would not want to leave out the old Kroger site either, when I mention redevelopment. There’s a lot of potential. It’s still a ZIP code that has a large economic emphasis in not only the county but also the whole state and region.”

Shop Farragut/

Farragut Business Alliance:

Steve Krempasky, executive director, said he too “would like to see some action on some of the empty buildings.

“I believe there is already some of the groundwork going on to address that, so hopefully that will prove fruitful in the coming year,” he added.

Knox County Schools/

Board of Education:

Susan Horn, representative from District 5 [including Farragut and Concord], is excited about the prospects of a new Three-year Strategy Plan that the Board will be developing with community input.

She said a meeting, which runs from 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 9, at West Valley Middle School, is just one of several planned throughout the district over the next two months, as the Board develops the plan.

“We are looking for feedback on what people see as priorities,” she said.

Example issues might be connected to college readiness, ACT scores or literacy or math proficiency goals, she said.

Horn said she brought the idea before the Board to consider, as KCS currently is in year four of a Five-year Plan.

“My feeling is that five years is too long, and that three years is a better time frame to have measurable goals,” she said.

“We hope the [new] plan will be in place by the end of the [2017-18] school year.”