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Ford seeks new term


Mayor Eddy Ford has been a part of Farragut’s leadership since its first elections in 1980. Come April, he is looking to add four more years to his record.

Ford served as one of two Ward 2 aldermen until being elected mayor in 1993, 1997 and 2001. From 1984 to 1993, he served as vice mayor, a position chosen among Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen members.

Ford, his wife, Linda, along with Mollie, their miniature schnauzer, live on land that has been in his family for nearly a century. He said he’s enjoyed watching a once rural area “with one dinky traffic light” grow into a thriving town.

“Having been a member of the original Board of Mayor and Aldermen … when the town had no money, no staff, no facilities and no ordinances and having been a participant in the town leadership as Farragut has become one of the premier municipalities in Tennessee, has been exciting,” he said.

As mayor for the past 12 years, Ford has had a huge influence on the growth of the town, having appointed all but two of the current members of the Farragut Municipal Planning Commission. He is also a voting member of the FMPC and the Farragut Beer Board.

“Because they serve to promote the interests of Farragut,” he said he is active in several regional, statewide and national organizations as well, serving as chairman in many including: the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization executive board; the East Tennessee Development District board of directors and executive committee; the East Tennessee Human Resources Agency board of directors and the ETHRA policy council.

He is a member of the ETDD economic development/planning committee, and in June 2004, completed a two-year term on the Tennessee Municipal League board of directors and a two-year term as director of TML, District 2. Last December, TML supported Ford in his bid for a seat on the National League of Cities board of directors, after having chaired the NLC Small Cities Council steering committee.

It’s in many of the above boards that Ford has developed working relationships with mayors and leadership from surrounding areas. “We’re all able to play well together,” he said.

Ford said Farragut’s infrastructure has benefited from his work with the TPO. “I’ve helped direct federal and state funds to Farragut for road, park, sidewalk and walking trail construction,” he said.

And, he added, the town has paid its share of the more than $11 million in current road projects.

Such projects are at the top of the mayor’s list of accomplishments and future focus should he be re-elected.

• Improved roads and intersections

Ford pointed to 10 road projects, the installation of traffic signals at 12 intersections and pedestrian signals at eight intersections as projects he’s supported. Road projects he thinks need to be addressed in the next four years include: construction of the Campbell Station Road extension; reconstruction of Campbell Station Road between Jamestown Boulevard and Parkside Drive; reconstruction of McFee Road, phase two; construction of a turn lane on Kingston Pike in the vicinity of Kingston Pike/Everett Road intersection; reconstruction of Old Stage Road between Rockwell Farm and the town’s Western boundary; reconstruction of Evans Road between Virtue Road and the entrance of the proposed Farm at Willow Creek and the installation of traffic signals on Kingston Pike at the Everett Road, Old Stage Road, Peterson Road and Thornton Drive intersections.

• Progressive, responsive, fiscally responsible, no-frills municipal government

Ford is proud that Farragut operates with no debt and no property taxes — due to first and foremost, he said, “close scrutiny of the finances.”

Ford appreciates the working relationship the FBMA has with town of Farragut staff. “It is a partnership,” he said. Accomp-lishments were the results of the hard work of experienced, committed leadership, citizens working together and an excellent town staff. … Elected officials from other municipalities who visit Farragut are amazed that a town of 19,000 citizens operates with a town staff of only 38 people, he added.

The mayor is also quick to name his wife as a strong supporter of Farragut. Ford said she is “truly an excellent First Lady,” serving on the Farragut Folklife Museum and Decorating Com-mittees, the Leisure Services Advisory board and as a museum docent.

• Development of park, playground, walk and bikeways, bike trails and recreational areas

Ford said he will work for construction of the new McFee Road Park and expansion of sidewalks, walkways and bike trails and continue to support town-sponsored leisure services.

Ford names other town accomplishments he has supported including: contributions to Farragut schools’ technology, the Farragut/West Knox Chamber of Commerce, the recognition of town volunteers, expansion of the town’s public works crew and addressing drainage problems, including establishing an annual budget item for major drainage improvements.

• Responsible approach to development

Ford said he will continue to work to influence land use and future residential, office and commercial development to enhance the predominantly residential character of the community. He said he will continue to support the sign ordinance passed 23 years ago in order to keep Farragut free of “ugly signs.” On that note, Ford said he will not use yard signs in the election.

“I don’t believe in yard signs,” he said. “I believe there are other ways to get the message across. I think the townspeople appreciate [candidates] not cluttering up the town.”

He includes progressive planning and zoning, access control, responsiveness to homeowners and subdivision issues and the appointment of responsible and knowledgeable FMPC members as accomplishments during his tenure as mayor.

Ford also lists possible future concerns, including lower sales tax revenue. He stressed the need to build up the commercial infrastructure around the new Campbell Station interchange, due to be complete by late 2006. Ford also keeps a close watch on the state legislature, in part because some lawmakers find municipalities that do not levy property taxes targets for reducing state shared revenues.

Before becoming immersed in local government, Ford was a career engineer. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nuclear engineering from the University of Tennessee, and is retired from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he worked for 33 years. Ford also was a construction engineer for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army.

He is a graduate of Leadership Knoxville; the University of Tennessee Center for Govern-ment Training’s Local Govern-ment Leadership Pro-gram and the Knox County Sheriff’s Citizens Academy.

Ford was valedictorian of his 1957 Farragut High School graduating class where he played football and basketball. He is a founding member of the FHS Education Foundation and officiated football with the Knoxville Football Officials Association for more than 25 years.

Ford’s involvement in Farragut’s leadership is nearing the 25-year mark. One reason he said he wants to keep going is the satisfaction he gets from receiving positive feedback from citizens.

“It’s a compliment to see people enjoying life,” he said. How long he will continue is up to the voters April 5.

Ford said: “We have the experience and commitment to continue the progress for another 25 years.”

 

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