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Board presents Chamber$10k
Smith Road sidewalks garner Board second look

The Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen presented a $10,000 check to the Farragut/West Knox Chamber of Commerce at its regularly scheduled meeting at Town Hall Thursday, Aug. 11.

The Board voted unanimously 4-0 – Farragut Vice Mayor Michael Haynes was absent – to approve the $10,000 donation, doubling the Board’s giving from fiscal year 2005.

Farragut Mayor W. Edward Ford III said, “The first executive director … of the Chamber was part-time staff member of the town of Farragut. Not only that, the town of Farragut provided office facilities for the first Chamber. Needless to say, since that time, the Chamber has stepped up, grown up on its own, such that it is now recognized as a major Chamber of Commerce, not only in East Tennessee, but really throughout the state of Tennessee, and we are really proud of what the Chamber has accomplished.”

Ford added, “We cooperate on many events throughout the year, and through those events, I think we are not only promoting Farragut, we are promoting the Chamber, we are promoting the whole community. And this fiscal year, this Board has allocated ten thousand dollars to support the Chamber of Commerce. This is an increase in that last year it was five thousand, so in essence we are doubling our contribution.”

Chamber president Bettye Sisco, accompanied by members of the Chamber, accepted the donation.

Turning to the Board’s agenda of unfinished business, Ford reopened discussion on the Smith Road sidewalk project.

Ford said, “We have been working and trying to bring in a sidewalk on Smith Road between Grigsby Chapel Road and Andover Place literally for over two-and-a-half years.

“Given the fact that three members of this Board of Mayor and Aldermen, and that the town has paid over forty thousand dollars for a set of plans that three members of this body have not seen … I am among those three, and Vice Mayor Haynes has not seen those plans, that I know, so with that, I have asked Darryl Smith, our town engineer, to present those plans back to this body … .”

Previously, the Board voted down the project at the rescheduled July 18 meeting because plans for the sidewalk only allowed for a widening of Smith Road on the north side. Smith had said Smith Road should have a symmetrical widening on the north and south sides of the road and the project should be tabled until funds are available to complete the entire project.

In public comment, Rolling Creek Drive resident Rebecca Haines asked the Board to reconsider constructing the sidewalk, which would include curb and gutter, on Smith Road.

Haines said the runoff of water from Smith Road causes flooding and erosion problems in her yard and her neighbors’ yards.

“At times I am ankle deep in mud trying to mow my yard,” Haines said. “The erosion is so severe that the roots of our trees are exposed inches above the ground.”

Haines added that a sidewalk on Smith Road would raise property values. She said she did not want her home to be devalued to the value of homes in Oak Ridge.

“Sidewalks on Smith Road would help raise the value of our homes by making our neighborhood more accessible by foot to our entire community,” Haines said. “Currently, Hickory Woods residents are confined to merely walking the interior of our neighborhood, unless of course we have a death wish by attempting to walk Smith Road.”

Rick Jackson, another Rolling Creek Drive resident, also asked the Board to approve the sidewalk on Smith Road because of drainage and erosion problems, and he submitted a petition for the sidewalk to the Board, which he said was signed by all of the residents on Rolling Creek Drive.

Ford asked Smith how a sidewalk would address drainage and erosion issues.

Smith said the sidewalk project could help with these problems. “This project will not completely alleviate the problem … but this project would definitely take the water from the roadway,” he said.

Alderman Joel Garber said that in light of the drainage problem, which he said he was unaware of until now, “I think it’s appropriate to reconsider [the sidewalk].”

The Board unanimously agreed to revote on the issue at its July 25 meeting.


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