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Hammond drives Farragut Senior Center, Strang planning talks

The former Food City in Farragut has been eyed as a possible senior center site.- Heather Mays/farragutpress
Building a large senior citizens center to serve Farragut, Karns and Cedar Bluff is probably off the table, District 5 County Commissioner Mike Hammond said.

“I don’t see that as a possibility, frankly,” Hammond said.

“One thing senior citizens have made clear is they don’t want to drive a long distance. The easier we can make it for folks, the better off we’re going to be,” he added.

The County had been looking at closing the Frank R. Strang Center in Lovell Heights and opening a large center to serve the three communities. The Strang Center is widely regarded as overcrowded with inadequate parking.

Hammond moved to postpone the controversial item until area senior citizens could complete a survey about their desires for a center. The County is awaiting results from that survey.

“We promised the people we would not move ahead with anything until we came back to them and had given them the results of the survey, and had a discussion with them over what they felt the needs were,” Hammond said.

Now, Hammond said, he was hoping to discuss building a joint community and senior center with the town of Farragut.

If a joint center in Farragut turned out to be a possibility, Hammond said he would recommend leaving Strang as it is, opening a joint center in Farragut and a senior center in Karns.

“Hopefully, there’s a way we can work together on that,” Hammond said.

Hammond and Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale are planning a meeting with Farragut Mayor Ralph McGill to discuss a Farragut community center.

“If there’s a way that we can partner with him and do something, that way we can go ahead and leave Strang as-is, and perhaps do something that would be a community center/senior citizens center,” Hammond said.

“That would serve both needs.

“I don’t know where that’s going to go, but at least we’re going to have that conversation,” he added.

At a recent Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, commercial realtor and Farragut resident Pamela Treacy recommended the former Food City site at 11130 Kingston Pike as a possible joint senior and community center.

Hammond said he hadn’t heard that idea, but knew “there were a couple of places that could be refurbished and turned into that.”

“That’s what we’re going to be looking at. Maybe there’s an option we haven’t even thought of,” he added.


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