Orchid Award nominations for Mayor Ralph McGill Plaza, West Knox Senior Center

Two relatively new Town of Farragut attractions recently received 2021 Keep Knoxville Beautiful Orchid Award nominations.

Mayor Ralph McGill Plaza, completed in November at the corner of North Campbell Station Road and Kingston Pike, “is a big improvement to that corner when you look at what’s been done to (Campbell Station Inn) and the rest of it,” Farragut Mayor Ron Williams said about the Plaza, which received an Outdoor Space category nomination.

West Knox Senior Center, which opened in early 2020 and is joined by Farragut Community Center in a two-level building at 239 Jamestown Blvd., received a Redesign/Reuse category nomination.

“Both are deserving,” Williams said, adding that while the senior center currently is closed because of COVID, “When it was up and running it was a big hit.”

The Town purchased the former Faith Lutheran church building for $2 million to house the community center on the top level, while Knox County spent $2 million on renovating the building to house the senior center on the bottom level.

More on Ralph McGill Plaza

“Ralph McGill Plaza is a prime example of revitalizing existing structures and creating a space for the community to thrive together,” Alanna McKissack, executive director with Keep Knoxville Beautiful, stated in a recent press release.

“This year, to still honor the amazing projects happening around Knox County, we will present the award via Facebook. From Feb. 1-26, we will present the awards online,” she further stated. “An e-vite will be sent this week.”

Nominees and winners will be highlighted on Facebook through pictures and video.

“This historic property is now a beautiful jewel on one the corners of the main intersection in the Town,” Sue Stuhl, Farragut Parks & Recreation director, said. “We are proud that the Town purchased the property to preserve the inn and provide green space for both our residents and visitors.”

Plaza uses

“The way it’s laid out, you can have a festival there, you can have a music venue there,” Williams said. “We’ve had people ask about weddings. I’m sure there’ll be a lot more things that people will think of that can happen there than what we can think of as a group.”

Stuhl said Town staff has a few plans for public events in late spring and early summer, but “because of the pandemic, we aren’t ready to release that information yet. “Hopefully as the winter progresses and the vaccines become more readily available, we can release plans to move forward with public gatherings,” she added. “We have, of course, already had one event — the six-week Light the Park event. …”

Stuhl said the plaza is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and the restrooms are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

“It’s a lovely place to take a break from a walk — I do that frequently when I walk on the weekends in Town,” she added.

Inside the Inn plans?

While plans for the inside of the Inn are still up in the air, Williams said, “It could be a lot of different things.

“With everything else that’s going on in our Town, we’ve not really had a chance to discuss that,” he added.

(See related photo on page 3A)