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Board to address Dimmick property purchase

Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III has asked that Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen consider purchasing the Dimmick property, located between the newly purchased Seal property and McFee Park, at its next meeting, Thursday, Jan. 8.

“Mr. Dimmick deserves an answer from the town of Farragut. Is the town of Farragut someday … going to proceed with purchasing the Dimmick property?” Ford said.

“He needs to know so he can make his plans,” he added.

Ralph and Susan Dimmick offered their property to the Town several months ago. Almost nine acres of the Dimmick’s property, currently used as a Christmas tree farm, lies between the 16.8-acre Seal property and the 26-acre McFee Park.

“It’s a flagpole lot with a 50-foot [wide] driveway going back to where his house is,” Ford said. The driveway strip separates the Seal and McFee Park lots.

“Our driveway is separating the parcels and there is going to be a lot of activity out here … we felt it was just a good opportunity for the Town to buy it and put this land together out here,” Ralph Dimmick said.

“I’m very sympathetic with the Dimmicks and appreciate their patience with the Town, but because of my concern about the economic issues, I don’t think I will support any additional purchases at this time,” Vice Mayor J. Michael Haynes said.

“Of course, as a practical matter, since we’ve purchased the Seal property … we have to, in some way, work with the Dimmicks, at least at the segment we’d have to converse to get to the park.

“One of the issues has always been that the Seal property is not contiguous with McFee Park,” he added.

“We’ll have to ultimately, at least, work out something with them on that part. There will have to be some kind of accommodation with that property,” Haynes said.

According to Ford, such a large parcel of parkland off McFee Road would resemble Farragut’s Mayor Bob Leonard Park off Watt Road.

“Out of the 26 acres we have under development at McFee Park, we’re only going to get 2 ball fields out of that,” Ford said, adding the Leisure Services Master Plan points out Farragut needs more ball fields and park land for its citizens.

“It’s always a good idea to buy park land,” Ford said, adding the Town owned the McFee Park property for 14 years before construction on the park began.

Ford made it clear, however; no money was available to purchase the Dimmick property in this fiscal year.

“This is not a movement to purchase the Dimmick property today. This is a movement to get a commitment from the Town about what it wants to do,” Ford said.

“This is just to get a feel about whether the Board is serious about purchasing that property … today, tomorrow, or next year,” he added.

“This is the beginning of the process of evaluating the information as to whether the Board will make a decision to purchase or not purchase the property,” Alderman Thomas Rosseel said.

“Of course, the Seal property decision took a long time and I assume that this won’t take place in a single Board meeting either,” he added.

“It’s a bad time for a seller right now. It’s a good time for a buyer … the Town might want to consider that,” Dimmick said.

The new fiscal year, in which the Board could appropriate money for land acquisition, will begin in July. The Town purchased the Seal property for $1.25 million.

Dimmick said his property has not been appraised and he has not discussed a price with anyone from the Town.

Knox County Trustee has Dimmick’s two parcels appraised at $186,800 for the two-plus acre site and $106,300 for the seven-plus acre tract.

Also on the agenda for the Board meeting:

• Consider approval of a proposal for engineering services for preparation of functional plans for Virtue Road improvements

• Discussion of the Personnel Committee charter

• Consideration of approval of engineering services for phase II of McFee Park

• Resolution 08-06, Town’s willingness to participate in the Knox County convenience voting pilot project for the 2009 Farragut Municipal Election


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