Economic Plan mulled by BOMA

Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen is considering an Economic and Development Strategic Plan, which it received from Town staff during a workshop held before its meeting Thursday, Dec. 8.

“I think we’re on a good path,” Mayor Ron Williams said.

“I really like it,” Alderman Scott Meyer said about the plan. “… As businesses thrive, the community thrives.”

Trevor Hobbs, assistant to the Town administrator, said Town staff was directed to look at such a plan last fall. Working with Shop Farragut/Farragut Business Alliance, Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce, Visit Farragut and Vice Mayor Louise Povlin, the committee came up with a proposed plan, which includes a vision statement, mission, critical success factors and priority initiatives.

Hobbs said there are five critical success factors included in the plan: enhancing Town revenue, building a community and sense of place, supporting and retaining its existing businesses, attracting and recruiting new businesses and promoting community assets.

Povlin said while she is happy with the Town’s current Memorandum of Understanding with FWKCC, she thinks the Board should re-examine its MOU with Shop Farragut, which “has not been updated in several years,” the Vice Mayor added.

She pointed out Shop Farragut primarily has focused on events, but participation has been sluggish since those events are weather dependent.

“Is that part as effective as we thought it should be?” Povlin asked. “We might want to re-imagine special events.”

On a tourism-related item, “The Mobile Visitor Center will enhance and simplify the visitor’s access to relevant information on the area and increase visitor engagement leading to an increase in visitor spending per visit,” Tourism manager Karen Tindal said. “Trained tourism staff and Visit Farragut ambassadors … through the week and weekends (will be) at hotels, tournaments and local and regional events, providing customer recommendations on local attractions, restaurants and retail opportunities.

“Meaningful and direct engagement with our visitors fosters positive relationships, increasing visitor retention rates and word-of-mouth recommendations,” she added.

To help accomplish this, the Board voted unanimously during its meeting after the workshop to approve the purchase of a 2023 Chevy Traverse for $28,816.

In October, the Board approved the purchase of a 2023 Chevy Tahoe 2 WD, through a statewide contract, for $38,077. However, that vehicle was sold to someone else.

The Chevy Traverse will be used by the Tourism staff as a mobile visitor center and additional pool car for the Town staff.

“The purchase of this vehicle — to be used as a mobile visitor center — shifts our current staff focus from a traditional office model to a visitor-first approach by providing exceptional customer service to our community and visitors,” Tindal said.