letter to the editor

Correcting the record, stating views on opposition to town center

Last week in the farragutpress, John Griess (Letter to the Editor) made a claim about a letter to the editor I wrote that was published in another paper.

Mr. Griess made an error I need to correct. Mr. Griess wrote, “Mr. Mitchell suggested the retail and restaurant component planned for the site of the long-vacant old Kroger store won’t work … that people like going to Turkey Creek or Northshore Town Center. Personally, I’d rather go someplace closer and I think lots of other people would, too.”

I did not write that. What I wrote was:

“The proposed 280 apartments at the old Kroger location will forever change Farragut in many negative ways. There is no way to accommodate the added traffic without changing the character of this area. Now during school hours there is traffic gridlock. Why add 280 apartments to that existing traffic gridlock?

“The apartment occupants cannot entirely support this new Farragut town center, and the hassle of traffic going there will keep other people away. This is a dated plan that ignores current reality. People will not shop at a place that is difficult to get in to and out of. This is a Blockbuster video tape idea in the time of Netflix movie streaming.

“Drive through the Turkey Creek shopping center. There are many vacant buildings there now. Some of that is a retail downturn, some of it is caused by COVID-19. The renovated old Ingles shopping center is waiting for businesses, but no one has come yet. And that is a convenient place to get in and out of. That should set off some alarm bells.

“When the Town of Farragut created the town center concept many years ago there was no COVID-19 and Amazon was not the local business destroyer it is today. We do not know what future bars and restaurants have in a post-COVID-19 world. They may not have a future. The Planning Commission should reject this plan.

“It is too risky. It is the wrong location. It could do too much harm to the Town and the property value of Farragut residents. Farragut should stay true to its roots as a bedroom community. People moved here to get away from an urban environment. Trying to be all things to all people is a sure way to be nothing to anyone.

“This concept plan really does not match the vision of a town center as passed by the Town of Farragut years ago. That plan had mixed use businesses on the lower floor and condos or apartments on the upper floors.

“This is just a bunch of apartments and two strip malls masquerading as a town center. This does not elevate Farragut. It is just a “me too” copycat sell- out for apartments in a place they are not needed or wanted.

“The Town of Farragut has already approved too many apartments in the past few years: apartments at Campbell Station Road and I-40, behind Little Joe’s Pizza and on Watt Road. We have no need for more apartments, especially at this location.

“Why would anyone shop at the proposed Farragut town center when they can shop at the Turkey Creek shopping center or purchase their items from Amazon, Target Direct or Walmart Direct?”

~ Mike Mitchell, Farragut