Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved a resolution naming the Town’s newest pocket park after one of its founding fathers, former mayor Dr. Ralph McGill, during the group’s regular meeting Thursday, Nov. 12.
The recently-completed park and grounds surrounding the historic Campbell Station Inn, at the corner of Kingston Pike and North Campbell Station Road, has now been officially named the Mayor Ralph McGill Plaza, in honor of the Town’s third mayor, who served from 2009 until shortly before passing away in 2018.
Up to that time, purchasing the Inn — accomplished in 2013 — and renovating and preserving it, as well as beautifying the property, had been among McGill’s driving passions, according to Town officials.
The Plaza portion of the project was the third phase of its development following renovation of the Inn, the history of which dates back to the 1830s.
The grand opening of the Mayor Ralph McGill Plaza will take place from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 3.
“This was a project the Town has been working on in different phases, over last couple of years, to beautify the northwest corner of Kington Pike and Campbell Station Road,” Town administrator David Smoak said. “One of the folks definitely heavily involved and making that a priority was Mayor Ralph McGill.”
Smoak read the resolution into the record, which noted Mayor McGill “was one of the ‘founding fathers’ of the Town — also known as Farragut Community Group and nicknamed “The Magnificant 7” — when it incorporated in January 1980; that he was sworn in as mayor on April 23, 2009, then re-elected Aug. 28, 2014.
“Beginning in 2012, Mayor McGill had the vision to purchase and restore the historic inn … as it preserves an important part of Farragut’s history,” Smoak read from the Resolution.
“Over the years, he witnessed his vision come alive through the stabilization of the Inn,” which was partially completed before he passed away.
“Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the Town of Farragut, to hereby name the Plaza, located at 11409 Kingston Pike … as the Mayor Ralph McGill Plaza for his dedication to the Town of Farragut and its citizens,” the resolution reading concluded.
“When I ran for alderman in 2016, I got some pushback from some of the residents about this particular project,” Vice Mayor Louise Povlin said. “I reminded them, without this particular project, we would just have some ubiquitous corner, in another ubiquitous suburban town, with a defunct Rite Aid on the corner. Instead we have a beautiful plaza and a beautiful building that I know we will find a good use for.
“Mayor McGill had a vision and he worked hard for it. I’m sad he doesn’t get to see it, but I know Marianne is proud, and I know the founding fathers are pleased we are honoring him in this way,” she added.
“I typically sat in church with Ralph prior to ever being elected, and this was one of things that was really on his mind to do and that he wanted to accomplish during his tenure,” Farragut Mayor Ron Williams said. “I do wish he was here to see it. I know Marianne is pleased, and I know the rest of the ‘Magnificent 7’ — our founding fathers — are pleased as well.”
“I would just like to add, growing up in this Town, that corner has been a little bit of an eyesore for a long time,” Alderman Drew Burnette said. “But in honor of Mayor Ralph McGill — it took a man of great vision to see what that could be. I’m not sure I could see that myself, but driving by, over last few months, it is everything I think he hoped it would be.”
“I never got the privilege to meet Mayor McGill, but I am one of thousands who have benefitted from his gracious and unselfish way of leading this Town into next century and next chapter,” Alderman Scott Meyer said.
“It is very fitting to name it after him.”