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EDC develops goals, recommendations

Farragut’s Economic Development Committee made concrete steps at its meeting Wednesday, April 7, unanimously approving several goals for itself and a few recommendations to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

First on the list was creating a focus group of EDC members to identify ways to improve Town presence in various Knox-area publications.

“We need to distinctly identify Farragut as an area,” Nancy Howard, a stay-at-home mom, said as she walked EDC members through visitor publications distributed through Knoxville and Knox County organizations.

“We need to put ourselves on the map; we need to have a presence,” she added.

That presence could be as simple as submitting information about events and attractions in Farragut to such publications.

The group also decided to hold receptions and informational meetings for commercial real estate agents and for business owners and developers following a farragutpress story on vacancy rates in Town.

“We should sit down with these people and hear them out,” David Purvis, owner of Farragut Wine and Spirits, said.

The EDC previously has discussed a perception that real estate agents advise commercial clients not to locate in the Town.

“It would open the door for communication,” Pamela Treacy, owner of Campbell Station Wine and Spirits, said.

Treacy also is a commercial realtor, and said a group of realtors meets monthly through CCIM, and could meet at Town Hall fairly easily.

The group also decided to recommend to the Board that it adopt a “blue ribbon” economic development study, completed in 2005, that only has been partially implemented.

The report included hiring an economic development liaison, which the Town did in the form of hiring Associate Town Administrator Gary Palmer.

Town Administrator David Smoak said the EDC recommendation could go before the Board as early as April 23.

Phil Dangel, co-owner of The Shrimp Dock, advised EDC members it would be wise to request any funds from the Town while the budget process was ongoing.

“We need to get started on this,” Dangel said.

The group estimated a request for a little more than $12,000 in the next fiscal year, including $6,000 for attending an International Council of Shopping Centers tradeshow in Las Vegas, $1,200 for data collection, $3,000 for marketing and $2,500 for receptions and meetings.

The EDC also asked that it be apprised of community grant requests for the next fiscal year with an economic impact, such as historical donations to Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce, Knoxville Open and Dogwood Arts Festival.

The EDC should provide recommendations to the Board on how much money each group should receive, Alderman Bob Markli said.

The group also plans to have a representative of Knox Heritage attend a future meeting to discuss the economic development advantages of historical preservation.

The EDC plans to update the Board on its progress and goals at a Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting in June.


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