Much ahead with Parks-Rec Master Plan

The Town of Farragut is fortunate to have a Parks and Recreation Department and Parks & Athletic Council that diligently seeks State grant funds for maintaining and improving our five beautiful parks. For years, these groups have maintained a “Parks and Recreation Master Plan,” which is an important document used to guide development and redevelopment of our park system.

This plan is generally a 10-year plan that is updated every five years and is a requirement for grant applications for the State of Tennessee Local Parks and Recreation Fund, Recreation Trails Program and Land & Water Conservation Fund.

The original plan was developed in 2012 and updated in 2016, so it is time for the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to approve a new plan. This process started in early 2021 with Parks and Recreation Department staff assessing current park facilities, staffing and programs, while researching details of potential park improvements and new features. They presented their findings and recommendations to the Parks & Athletic Council, which serves as the steering committee for the plan, and the council approved the current plan version in December 2021.

The current plan version organizes park projects into three categories: Near-term (1-3 years); Mid-term (4-7 years); and Long-term (8-10 years). Projects vary from simple, inexpensive improvements to major capital expenditures that will require several years to complete and could need additional research before implementation. All projects included in the current version are in response to the following: • Public input from various surveys conducted during the last 8 months (e.g. restroom at the Blue Cross Blue Shield playground, dog park, bottle fillers at all water fountains); • American with Disabilities Act-required corrections and additions (e.g. trail reconfiguration to meet slope requirements); • Necessary maintenance or replacement (e.g. replacement of the “carpet” on the synthetic turf fields, Anchor Park playground replacement).

Other Near-term projects include: Greenway connection between Brookmere and Sheffield; Greenway connection along Evans Road between the current terminus and McFee Road; Town Center restrooms; and McFee Park running trails, lighting and permeable paver parking lot. These items have already been funded in the Town Capital Improvement Plan for Fiscal Year 2022.

I commend Parks and Recreation Department staff and the Parks & Athletic Council for adhering to one of our hometown’s founding virtues: resident input, while carefully deliberating and preparing the current plan version.They sought resident input through four focus groups, insider surveys of 92 participants who were purposely chosen to participate due to their knowledge of and history with our parks, intercept surveys of random participants at various parks events, citizen surveys of which 816 households and various community organizations participated and four public hearings held in November and December 2021.

The final “Parks and Recreation Master Plan” will be presented during a meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen this coming Spring, at which time residents will have another opportunity to provide input on projects.