$500,000 in vandalism means security cameras for McFee Park

Attempting to take a bite out of crime with a full-time candid view, Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen and its staff approved a grant program to help pay for the installation of security cameras on the lower fields of McFee Park.

The Board authorized the Town staff to participate in a Public Entity Partners property matching grant program during its meeting Thursday, Nov. 8, to help pay for the cameras.

Janet Wedekind, Farragut Resources manager, explained Public Entity Partners, formerly known as “the pool,” is the new name for the Town’s insurance agency.

She reminded the board that earlier this year about $500,000 in damage to McFee Park soccer field was the result of vandalism.

In that case, the perpetrator was not found.

“We went to ‘the pool,’” she said. “(The damages were) not covered under our insurance (at that time).

“Well, we are a proactive group here,” Wedekind said. “We lobbied them for that, and that (coverage) has been changed. Now, all of our ball fields are insured.”

But the staff did not stop there.

“Being proactive means we not only want to have coverage, we also want to hold people responsible for the damage,” she said. “We have purchased and installed security cameras on the lower field (at McFee Park).

“The camera system is positioned to record license tags numbers of cars leaving McFee Park,” Wedekind added, pointing out those tag numbers will help Knox County Sheriff’s Office identify individuals responsible.

“Additionally, the cameras may deter future damage if they know that they are there.”

The matching grant is for $2,500 while the cost of the camera system was $4,727. However, she noted, the request to the Board only was to approve participating in the grant program, not the dollar amounts.

On another matter, the Board chose Scott Russ from seven candidates for a position on its Parks and Athletic Council. Other candidates were Lauren Beck, Al Brown, Kashif Cowhan, Jeff Copper, Dana Hart and Vonnie Tharp.

Mayor Ron Williams appointed former Vice Mayor Dot LaMarche to represent the Town on Knox County Community Health Council.

In other business, the Board approved unanimously:

• A proposal from Urban Engineering Inc. to complete engineering work on a sidewalk at Smith Road, connecting from greenways along Smith Road to an existing sidewalk east of Andover Boulevard. The Town will be paying $56,987.50 to Urban Engineering for the work.