Town view

Laying out Town’s progression, challenges

There’s no denying the growth we’re seeing in and around Farragut. Knox County continues to recruit large corporations with high-paying jobs to our area, and many of their employees are choosing to live in Farragut. It’s no wonder.

We have a clean, attractive community with great neighborhoods, parks, walking trails, sidewalks and great community events.

Farragut High School is the top performing high school in Knox County and ranked 10th in the state. Plans are under way to open a community and senior center in the heart of our Town, and we offer housing options for young professionals, families and senior citizens.

Notwithstanding these positive assets, we compete with Oak Ridge, Maryville and the Hardin Valley area for these future residents. We must be thoughtful about what makes Farragut a desirable place to live.

Ultimately, maintaining the high-quality residential nature of our community is paramount to keeping our edge over other communities.

With that in mind, we have several initiatives under way to elevate our built environment. We have a small group looking at the Future Land Use Plan to envision where activity hubs can be established, which would give people living nearby the option to walk or ride their bikes to dining or shopping destinations.

We have developed a new protocol for road improvement projects that includes more community engagement and consideration for both vehicular and pedestrian/bicycle safety.

We’ve increased the required width of the grass strip between the road and pedestrian facilities to support street trees that will beautify the corridor, calm traffic and provide shade.

We’ve added a new zoning district that encourages more small-scale commercial development, which is more neighborhood-friendly. We continue to pursue the goal of a Town Center development.

It is not enough to be mindful about our built environment. We need to continue to identify opportunities to strengthen the experiences and connections citizens share, as this is important to our quality of life. One opportunity that we have identified is our relationship with the schools in our Town.

In the past several months, participants in this year’s Introduction to Farragut class have volunteered with Farragut Primary School by painting the hallways and volunteering at the school’s Fall Fest.

The Education Relations Committee is identifying service and leadership opportunities that can help rising Farragut Middle School sixth-graders and rising Farragut High School freshman plug into their new schools. We continually reach out to Farragut High School’s National Honor Society and students from Concord Christian to volunteer at our community events.

We are exploring an opportunity to connect juniors and seniors at Farragut High School with our local businesses through the Knox County Schools’ work-based learning program.

With the senior center moving to the heart of our town, we also see an opportunity to recruit seniors to volunteer at our elementary schools as reading partners for struggling readers.

It is not just grand projects that will set our Town apart. Small, incremental, thoughtful changes like these will help strengthen our community, as well.