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Rectangles win out over diamonds


Changing features reflect changing interests as the proposed 26.15-acre McFee Road Park, delayed in construction four to five years due to federal funding for McFee Road expansion, is targeted to break ground with “phase one” of a multi-year project next spring.

Though two “small softball fields” were originally planned for the park, “there is little to no request for these fields,” said Sue Stuhl, the town’s Leisure Services director, during the Thursday, Oct. 19, meeting of the Farragut Municipal Planning Commission.

“What we do have a request for is rectangular fields.”

With one 70 by 110-yard field and one 35 by 50-yard field proposed, sports of interest for those fields are soccer, lacrosse, rugby and field hockey, Stuhl said. “We have more requests than we can handle.”

Stuhl said earlier this week that park construction is tentatively set in “three to four phases” covering “at least” the next few years and a final projected cost for the park “probably” would be tabulated sometime this week.

However, Stuhl added that $500,000 has been budgeted for the park this fiscal year “to get started,” which includes “construction design … it’s not just all building.”

State grant money for the park would not be available until 2008 according to the director.

Starting construction next spring “will depend on where McFee Road [construction] is at that time and where we can tie in,” Stuhl said.

The park will also include an amphitheater with covered stage, seat walls and lawn seating; picnic shelter for 100 people; two sand volleyball areas; a playground; a shelter with restrooms for 150 people; an orientation kiosk and “several different types” of walking trails with gravel, concrete and asphalt surfaces — including a loop trail roughly one mile around the park’s athletic fields.

Questions by Commissioner Bob Edlund about the need for a barrier securing the fields from McFee Road led Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III to insist that fencing be erected between the fields and McFee. The provision was included and all proposed changed were approved

unanimously.

Parking has been doubled from its original 1999 plans, now projected to accommodate 213 cars in two different park locations.

In addition, the park’s entrance/exit point will feature a roundabout.

 

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