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Park, center plans discussed

Farragut’s Parks and Leisure Services Master Plan (2008-2018) includes the need to accelerate planning and funding for a new community center and development of McFee Park.

Parks and Leisure Services Master Plan Advisory Committee compiled data and presented a detailed report to Farragut Municipal Planning Commission during its Thursday, Jan. 17 meeting in Town Hall.

As for the proposed community center, committee chair Mike Karnitz reported: “The near-term goal is to develop a detailed plan … and initiate and evaluate plans for funding this. We know that this is a challenge.”

Tom Rosseel, Town alderman and committee member, said there are “individuals within the town who have expressed a desire to participate in that process.

“The one concern that has come up over the last probably five or 10 years when the community center has been discussed, is the operational costs,” he added.

Concerning public-private partnerships, “We certainly think that that’s one very feasible option based on some feedback we were getting,” Rosseel said.

Karnitz added, “We think that to implement this will take some unique ideas with regard to public-private partnerships.”

One town goal expanded upon was a need “to expand park facilities and build-out current facilities,” Karnitz said. “The near-term focuses on … phase one and two of McFee Park.”

Sue Stuhl, Leisure Services director, gave her self-proclaimed annual “state of the park” address that was highlighted by an update on 26-acre McFee Park, “our newest and very exciting park.”

Phase one of development would be completed “this fall; however we do not expect to open the playing fields until spring of 2009,” Stuhl said.

Phase one, she added, includes two “rectangular playing fields, one very large, one pretty small that can be used for football, lacrosse, soccer, rugby, whatever comes down the road … restrooms and storage area, and a lighted walking trail.

“Phase two … that would be a playground, splash-pad, two park shelters, an additional restroom and more parking. Phase three would be the amphitheater and trails … and phase four would be the back section of the park … having natural trails.”

Rosseel gave what he labeled “a real rough … ballpark number” when saying the town’s has “at least” $10 million invested in parks and recreation.

Stuhl said the town would be applying for a $500,000 state grant “matching fund” for phase two of McFee Park, plus a $100,000 grant “to complete a link of greenway on the Montgomery Farm … to connect several pieces between Rockwood Farms and Fort West. … We should hear something later this summer on those [grants].”

Karnitz said the Master Plan “is a product of community involvement by means of a citizens’ survey in 2006 and two public hearings in February 2007. The survey showed that top facilities of importance to respondents were walking trails, nature areas, picnic facilities and a community center.

“The choice at the public hearings was a multi-purpose community center, lighted multi-use fields, additional greenway links, town entry streetscapes and a lacrosse field,” he added.

Long-term plans, the chair added, might include “a new park north of the Interstate.”

Plans for 17-acre Campbell Station Park includes “a low profile playground area in the next few years,” Stuhl said.

Commission voted unanimously to approve all parks and recreation plans submitted (7-0 vote, with Commissioners Connie Rutenber and Edward G. St. Clair absent).

Commissioner Dot LaMarche thanked committee members for their work, which also included Alderman John Williams, Pat Sloan, Nancy Glasgow and Sharae Patterson.

In other matters, the Commission:

• by a vote of 5-2, agreed to a request to amend text of Farragut Zoning Ordinance, Chapter 3, Section XIL, General Commercial District (C-1) to allow outdoor storage at Farragut Lawn and Tractor (Wayne Davis, applicant). Commissioners Carol Evans and Rita Holladay voted no. Parking issues must worked out in relation to outdoor storage, as Commissioner Ron Honken has agreed to help work out a suitable plan.

• unanimously approved a site plan involving proposed changes to the exterior building elevations at Kohl’s department store, 11530 Kingston Pike (Jack Reynolds, applicant)

• unanimously “re-approved” the annual review of Sheffield Subdivision concept plan.


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