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Economic Development Committee meets


The Town’s newly-formed Economic Development Committee met for the first time Wednesday, Oct. 7.

The 15-man committee discussed strategic planning for the Town, including how to brand the Town and how to set priorities.


“There are a ton of things we could take on. We need to create a priority list,” Interim Town Administrator Gary Palmer said.

Bill Johns asked if the group could consider the positive programs in communities similar to Farragut, but Palmer said there are no communities in Tennessee exactly like Farragut.

Some communities may have the “same taste,” Jim Nixon said, but most are full service.

“There is no template for Farragut,” Alderman Bob Markli said.

“We need to look at what we have that nobody else has, and how we market that, how we brand that. I don’t think that’s something that will take a big budget.

“As far as marketing what we have, it’s all right here in this room, right here in this Town,” he added.

Ginny McLain-Tate said the group should examine what attracts people to Farragut now, and what can be learned from other communities.

“That’s the magic: how you mix those two. Make [Farragut] a place you both want to live and work,” she said.

“I think they’re intertwined,” Jonas Rice agreed.

Another pervasive idea for the EDC to examine is the perception of the Town among neighboring communities.

“People are resentful of Farragut,” Markli said.

“For most people, the ‘F’ in Farragut doesn’t stand for ‘friendly.’” Pamela Treacy agreed.

“We’re not out to take over the world. We’re trying to grow in an orderly fashion,” Jim Holladay said.

Brad Fitch said the group should work to show that Farragut is “not a place of uppity people and a bunch of crazy building codes.”

Part of the branding of Farragut could be stepping up the Buy in Farragut campaign, including educating shoppers about the Town.

“A stunning amount of people don’t know what Farragut is,” Holladay said.

The EDC also selected eight of its members to initial two-year terms. The remaining seven members will serve initial four-year terms.

Committee members finally discussed criteria of the membership for the group, deciding that they did not wish to specify qualifications for those wishing to serve.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen decided EDC members should be residents of the Town or someone with business interests in the Town. They decided to leave the specifics to the EDC.

The EDC asked to serve as a review group for future applications to the committee, making recommendations to the Board.

The EDC will next meet from 8 a.m. to noon, Thursday, Oct. 22, at Town Hall.



We want someone who has some expertise .., [and] the layman, residential point of view,” Palmer said.

Holladay said he thought members of the committee needed “skin in the game,” as far as business interests were defined.

“Your future should be tied to the future of the community,” David Purvis said.

However, the group decided not to specifically define qualifications, worrying that someone qualified might not meet the definitions, or that the committee might be seen to be creating qualifications to include specific people.

However, Palmer said he felt the committee was too large to be perceived as “wrangling” anything in the Town, comparing the group to “a Parliament. It’s a pretty big body.”

 

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