‘In my last year,’ Pinchok lists his goals

I have been asked to write about what I would like to accomplish in my last year as an alderman. To do that, I’ll have to review some history.

In 2010, I read that the final piece of property had been purchased to complete McFee Park. It would be a 53-acre park with many new amenities. My wife and I enjoy the outdoors so much I decided that I wanted to be a part of the development of this park. I applied to be on the Parks and Athletics Council, and from 2011 to 2014, I was elected chairman of both the Parks and Athletics Council and the EDAC (Economic Development Advisory Council).

During this time, I became interested in several projects related to improving our quality of life and improving the Town’s economics. I began prioritizing goals that I wanted to see accomplished in our Town.

In 2012, we created a master plan for McFee Park with a cost estimate of $8 million. After four years and no progress toward construction, a new plan was requested. In 2016, our new plan’s cost estimate was $12,538,840. At that time, we had $6 million set aside for construction. I realized we had to start construction soon or the cost would keep escalating out of control. Finally, in 2019, we approved a budget of $8 million to move forward with the park construction. We broke ground in spring of 2020.

The contracting company was to have completed Phase 3 improvements by the end of June 2021, but because of delays, we are now expecting it to be completed by this winter. I can’t wait for the ribbon cutting on April 3, and I’m sure many of you feel the same way.

One of my goals for the remainder of my term is to continue to add amenities and facilities to this park. The $8 million we spent was mostly for grading, the road and additional infrastructure. After these necessary improvements, some amenities had to be postponed due to lack of funds.

To start with, at least two more tennis courts are needed. The plan called for eight, but because of our budget, we only built four. The plan called for a dog park, so I would like us to move forward on that as well. We need lights for the all-purpose court.

A 1.5-mile bike/running trail through the wooded areas along the west side of the park is also planned. I will be actively working to make this happen. We are seeking financial support from major business and interested citizens to help finance future amenities.

Top Golf was high on my list of goals since the first time I visited one in Atlanta in 2014. The crowds were huge, and it was definitely a family-oriented attraction. I took videos and showed them to members of the EDAC when I returned home thinking this would fit in perfectly with the entertainment district we were envisioning along Outlet Drive.

In 2017, I read an article in the business section of the News Sentinel about Top Golf looking for sites in the Knoxville area. I shared this with Town administrator David Smoak. He discussed it with Mayor (Ralph) McGill and others who normally attend the ICSC convention in Las Vegas.

They were able to contact Top Golf representatives and the rest is history. Top Golf broke ground earlier this year. Over the next year, we expect to hear exciting news of more development along this corridor. This will be a huge boost to our economy and our sales tax revenue.

The Town now has more park amenities and activity venues that offer our citizens more healthy activities than ever before. At the same time, we are increasing our revenue stream to put us in a better financial position for future needs. The past 11 years have been very exciting and very rewarding. I’m looking forward to the next 12 months and all that we can accomplish together.