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letters to the editor


McGill says ‘thank you’

It is difficult to find the words that adequately convey the deep gratitude than Marianne and I have for the support you gave us this election. It has been a truly humbling experience, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. My prayer each day for the next four years is that we will always be worthy of your support.

From the voting booth you sent a loud and clear message — that you want to see a different direction for Farragut, and that’s what we intend to bring to you starting April 23 when the new Board of Mayor and Aldermen meets for the first time. At that meeting, we are going to start planning for a referendum on term limits for Farragut elected officials. We will discuss options for lining up our elections with other major elections, perhaps the Knox County elections. We also are going to consider options for dealing with the Grigsby Chapel Road controversy. In the last few weeks, you have made it clear that you don’t like the “calming islands.” We are supposed to represent you, and that’s what we are going to do. It will take us a bit of time to resolve this issue, so please be patient, but it IS going to be solved to your liking.


Looking farther into the future, we are going to put in place some new practices that will improve the face of Farragut as it relates to the business community and homeowners alike. We will continue to strongly support parks and recreation and will add new facilities as our population grows. We will start considering the possibilities of building a new community center for Farragut. This will be a longer-term process, but we need to start making our wish list for it.

The backbone of Farragut’s government is its volunteers, working on numerous committees, at special events, in the museum, all of which comes at no cost to our government because of the true spirit of volunteerism that exists here. We want to engage you in these areas as much as we possibly can. Openings in various activities will come along, and I’m confident you will step up and help out.

In short, things are going to be different, and I think you’re going to like the results. Again, Marianne and I are greatly honored by the faith and trust that you have shown in us, and we will never forget who gave us this opportunity to serve.

May God bless all of you.



Ralph McGill

Farragut Mayor-elect



Rosseel bids farewell

I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the citizens of Farragut’s North Ward for the privilege of representing them for the last four years. As your Alderman, I tried my best to listen to your concerns and respond promptly. For me, that personal interaction was the best part of being your representative. Together with citizen support, we had many important achievements including:

• The purchase of the Seal Property for a future park, community center or school. This was the first major purchase of land in 13 years. The price was within the appropriated budget, was at the low end of land sales in Farragut, and, since it’s adjacent to the existing McFee Park, will save the Town at least $200,000 in infrastructure costs.

• The installation of streetlights on arterials and major collectors, which has measurably improved visibility on our major roads resulting in safer driving and walking.

• Transforming Newport Road at Kingston Pike from a dangerous intersection into one that gives drivers a fighting chance. Similarly, we were able to make the entrances to Hickory Woods and Andover much safer.

• Working together with residents of Woodland Trace and Farragut View, Ridgeland, and the Grigsby Chapel Road subdivisions east of Fretz Road, we were able to stop a variety of ill-conceived plans for high-density residential zoning that were incompatible with their neighborhoods. Concerted opposition by homeowners helped preserve the quality of their neighborhoods.

During the next four years, I sincerely hope that the new Board will focus on improving our government. From my perspective, that includes term limits, reviewing the organizational structure of the Town, and initiating transparent fiscal planning. The budget process must be open to citizen input and Board discussion as the budget is developed, not after it’s completed. The public has a right to expect fair, honest and open government with reasonable and defensible decisions.

Good government also requires planning if we’re going to keep up with the needs of a community that has grown to more than 20,000 and may eventually reach 35,000. The alternative is to pay for more expensive fixes to correct what should have been anticipated problems.

I believe it’s critical to implement the Leisure Services Master Plan. That plan provides the best path toward meeting the leisure and recreational needs of Farragut residents through new facilities, such as a community center, new and expanded parks and greenways to promote recreation and physical activities, and programs to promote a unique cultural identity in an educated, arts-oriented community. It’s especially critical to begin planning for what we want and can afford in a future community center.

Because you deserve the safest and best roads, the Board must evaluate and install traffic signalization as needed. Everett Road/Kingston Pike and St John/Grigsby Chapel come to mind. Similarly, the Board must continue to make road improvements. At the top of the list would be Everett, Campbell Station and Union roads. It must also work with homeowners to reduce speeding and neighborhood cut-through traffic. And it goes without saying that it must fairly and, in a deliberative fashion, address the traffic issues and problems on Grigsby Chapel.

We must also find a way to work with Knox County to alleviate overcrowded elementary schools because schools affect our quality of life, our property values, and our future. And we must begin the process of reviewing the Urban Growth Plan with the County and Knoxville.

This will provide an opportunity to expand the Town’s boundaries for those wishing to become part of Farragut. I assure you that Knoxville will act whether or not we actively participate.

Don’t let anyone tell you that improving our Town will require a property tax. That’s simply untrue. We have and we can continue to spend only what we have conservatively budgeted but with an eye on making critical improvements to enhance the quality of life in Farragut.

As you know, Farragut stores and restaurants provide an important component of our tax revenue. Just as importantly, the business community supports our schools, athletic programs and charities. To help strengthen and support them, the Town should charter a Farragut Economic Development Board. The FEDB, composed of financial, retail, community and Town officials, would encourage the creation of quality and lasting development that would foster a stronger economy and contribute to the community well being. Examples of the latter include coordinating the “Buy-in-Farragut” campaign and providing guidance for funding a community center.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t express my deep appreciation to the Town staff. I truly enjoyed working with these outstanding and dedicated professionals. I look forward to remaining active in the Town and working with the new Board. Most of all, I sincerely appreciate the support, the friendship and kindness of the many citizens that I’ve met and worked with over the last four years.



Thomas M. Rosseel

Farragut

 

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