$750,000 playground sought through grant

Farragut may finally get its much-desired all inclusive playground if BlueCross BlueShield Foundation approves its recent grant application.

Based on a report by Town Park and Recreation director Sue Stuhl, Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the application during its regular Thursday, Aug. 27, meeting.

If chosen, Farragut would receive one of 10 $750,000 playgrounds BlueCross BlueShield Foundation plans to finance and build across the state in honor of its 75th year of service.

“For several years, the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation has given grants to communities in Tennessee for the purpose of providing places for ‘neighbors to get to know one another, form new connections and enjoy healthy activity.’” Stuhl’s report explained. “Generally, they have awarded one or two grants a year. In celebration of the 75th anniversary of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee in 2021, the foundation will build 10 BlueCross Healthy Places throughout the state. Each project is valued at $750,000, which includes funds that will be appropriated to a local foundation for the purpose of providing replacement parts as the facility ages.”

She said of the six design options, Farragut chose to pursue the “Thrive and Play” design, “because it provides a fully-inclusive play area (one of the goals of the Town’s Capital Investment Program); swing and freestanding play area; fitness station for teens and adults; and a small pavilion with picnic tables.

Because of the grant’s criteria for a “clear and level” area with “unrestricted access for large construction equipment and materials,” Stuhl said staff recommended the playground be located behind Town Hall, where original plans called for a small community center.

The site also has parking readily available and restrooms in Town Hall.

If approved, Healthy Place grants differ from other grants, in that no money changes hands, and the project would be completely constructed, designed, engineered and installed by and through the Foundation.

“If the Town wanted to add additional elements in the future, it could be done by the Town in a later phase,” Stuhl explained.

She said the grant is “highly competitive” but the Town should be notified by the end of the year if it’s application is approved.

In other business:

BOMA approved on first reading two related ordinances. The first, 20-09, amends the Class 4 Tavern Permit and creates a Class 7 Brewpub permit. This item has been workshopped by both the Farragut Municipal Planning Commission and BOMA.

The proposed ordinance makes two changes to the Tavern Permit. First, the square footage limit for taverns is increased from 3,500 square feet to 4,500 square feet. Second, it specifies that food sales account for at least 20 percent of gross sales at Taverns.

To match the permitted use of Brewpub in the Zoning Ordinance, it is proposed that a new Class 7, Brewpub permit be created with requirements to include: being housed in building space and/or tenant space that does not exceed 6,500 gross square feet; not producing more than 2,500 barrels of beer or malt beverage per year; and not distribute at wholesale more than 25 percent of its annual production in barrels.

A second ordinance, 20-16, defines both a microbrewery and brewpub, and establishes it/they would only be located in C-1, General Commercial District; C-1 Mixed Use Town Center overlay district; C-2, Neighborhood Convenience Commercial; OD-RE/E, Outlet Drive Regional Entertainment and Employment Districts.