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FHS’s Courtney petitions Town for Navy guns


Disposal of a pair of early 1940s battleship deck guns were the topic of extended conversation at Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, Thursday, June 25.

“The barrels are over 10 feet long; they sit up on big, massive pedestals,” Public Works Director Bud McKelvey said of the three-inch deck guns, which were recovered from a razed building and given to the Town.

“The idea, early on, was to put these in a couple of our parks, or in a park,” he said.

But according to McKelvey, the guns were considered a liability for any of the Town’s parks.

“There were a lot of pinch points and things like that. The only way we could do it was to fence the gun in,” McKelvey said.

“Everything in a park is an implied play element,” Leisure Services Director Sue Stuhl said.


When Vice Mayor Dot LaMarche asked why the guns could not be used at the planned Admiral James David Glasgow Farragut memorial, Stuhl said the guns were not dated from the Civil War, as were the rest of the items that will be on display there.

McKelvey said the guns have sat at Public Works for about two years, and were just coming up now because Farragut High School football coach Eddie Courtney asked for one.

“They’re going to point it toward Bearden,” Town Engineer Darryl Smith joked.

“I like the idea of putting them to use. If the school can use two for one, give them both … so they can put them to use,” Alderman Jeff Elliott said.

The Board agreed to allow McKelvey to continue discussions with Courtney, and Courtney with Knox County School Board, over the future of at least one of the guns.

“But see if they will take them both,” LaMarche said.

The Board also discussed parameters for granting First Utility District two easements along Campbell Station Road near the park.

“The Planning Commission recommended those additions be placed in the easement document that would protect the Town’s interests as far as access to the park,” Town Attorney Tom Hale said.

Hale said staff requested the changes be marked on a re-plat of the entire park; FUD said they would provide a “plat of corrections,” or an overlay to the current plat.

According to Community Development Director Ruth Hawk, the Town was not planning on charging for these easements, so she considered the re-platting a fair trade.

“Since the Town does not charge for these, we really consider this a fair trade-off because it protects us from any mistakes in the future,” Hawk said.

“We do want to protect any kind of future changes we make to the Town park,” she added.

Mayor Ralph McGill asked why the overlay would not be acceptable; Stuhl said grant processes required submission of one document showing all easements.

In other words, if the Town sought grant funds for Campbell Station Park after the easements were granted, the Town would have to re-plat the land anyway.

“We do get a lot of grant money; that’s a viable concern,” Elliott said.

McGill said it was “too much to ask” that the Town give away the easements and compromise its position on grants.

Hawk set forth a compromise: that the Town and FUD work together to re-plat the area after construction is completed.

“As a matter of practice, after we finish up a road project, we go through and re-plat the right-of-way,” she said.

If FUD was amenable, FUD could simply add the re-platted park, complete to the back property lines, to that document.

 

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