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Board approves Smith Road stop sign

The meeting of the Farragut Board of Mayor and Alderman began with the welcomed return of a familiar face during its regularly scheduled meeting Thursday, June 9.

Town administrator Dan Olson, who was recently hospitalized with blood clots in the brain, returned to sit on the board for the first time in seven weeks. Olson thanked the board and the audience for their support and prayers during his hospitalization.

Olson again received the spotlight when Mayor W. Edward Ford III presented him with a plaque for 10 years of service to the town of Farragut from 1995 to 2005.

The meeting’s business was highlighted by the presentation of leisure services committees accomplishments for the 2005 fiscal year.

Joan Griffin, chairwoman of the town’s Art Council, reported to the Board that the Council had completed its goals presented to the board in August. The Council’s “Artist of the Month” project remains very successful and its purchasing of art and presentation equipment for the Farragut Town Hall was accomplished. The Art Council participated in town events such as “Happy Days in Farragut” and “Freaky Friday.” For 2005, the Art Council is planning an art and flowers show titled “Images of the Imagination,” along with the Dixie Highway Garden Club.

Representing the town of Farragut Decorating Committee was chairwoman Linda Ford. Assisted by the town of Farragut Public Works crew, Ford and her committee were responsible for decorating Town Hall during the December holidays.

The Decorating Committee also hosted the 11th annual “Celebrate the Season,” at Town Hall Dec. 7, 2004. One of the committee’s central goals for 2005 is the completion of the “Light Up Farragut” project. A letter will be mailed to selected owners of commercial establishments to encourage businesses to place trees with lights on rooftops during the December holidays.

The Farragut Museum Advisory Committee presented its yearly report with focus on the revival of the Farragut Folklife Museum. The museum wanted to revive its oral history program, successfully advertise throughout the community, increase its collection of family histories and train new volunteers to work in the museum.

Chairwoman Pat Sloan reported for the Farragut Parks and Athletics Council. Although Sloan reported on the fiscal year accomplishments of the committee, installing new lights at Mayor Bob Leonard Park was the main item of debate.

With more than 8,600 youths benefiting from the fields at the park, time slots for use are in high demand. Sloan reported that lights on the field would greatly lessen the strain for both her committee and those needing the fields for practices and games.

The mayor said he was pleased with all reporting leisure committees. He also presented a challenge to the group of committees as a whole. Ford challenged the committees to come up with three ideas for projects to be presented to the Board that “can truly distinguish the town of Farragut in a way that we haven’t even thought of.”

Placement of a stop sign proved to be the most controversial subject of the evening.

Discussion ensued over whether or not a three-way stop should be placed at the intersection of Smith and Hickory Woods roads. More than 20 residents of both Hickory Woods subdivision and Smith Road were present to plead for the installation of a three-way stop as a means of slowing traffic on what the local representatives were calling “a highly dangerous stretch of road.”

Paul White, a resident of Smith Road and one of the more vocal members of the audience, asked the board to “give us our community back.” More parents approached the podium to tell the board stories of accidents and their fears of children being harmed when traveling on the road.

Town engineer Darryl Smith advised against putting in the three-way stop. Smith said, “A stop sign would give a false sense of security and potentially cause even more accidents at the intersection.”

Knox County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Ben Harkins and town of Farragut fire safety marshal Dan Johnson also were called upon to speak concerning the stop sign. Both men were clear that a traffic-controlling device would not completely solve any problem, only cause a new one.

Ultimately, the residents of Smith and Hickory Woods roads prevailed with the Board voting 3-1 in favor of implementing a three-way stop at the intersection.

The last item of note for the Board was the presentation of the 2006 town of Farragut Budget and unanimously approved it on first reading.

Ford highlighted the rising sales tax revenue for the town.

Ford said the sales tax revenue for the town of Farragut was increasing and not “plummeting,” as Ford’s critics suggested during the last municipal election.


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