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EDC talks community calendar, municipal tennis courts


Farragut’s Economic Devel-opment Committee branched out from its usual discussions, talking about topics as scattered as an online community calendar to constructing tennis courts.

“Particularly on the [town of Farragut] Web site, there should be a comprehensive calendar of Town events and all committee meetings,” EDC Chair Jim Holladay said to open the meeting Wednesday, May 5.

Brad Fitch pointed out the Town already has a calendar at www.townoffarragut.org, one that includes Town events, community classes held at Town Hall and citizen committee meetings.

Knick Myers, Myers Bros. Development, asked why area and community events couldn’t be included — events such as neighborhood block parties and church or business festivals.

David Smoak, Town Administrator, said, “If you want to put something on the calendar, we need to focus it.”


Associate Town Administrator Gary Palmer agreed, saying the Town could face policing and liability issues if anyone were allowed to post any event they wanted. And no staff person had the time to field hundreds of calendar submissions.

“You want events that establish Farragut as a destination,” David Purvis, Farragut Wine and Spirits, said.

Fitch argued that the committee might be overstepping its bounds; a community calendar normally would fall to the responsibility of a chamber of commerce or similar group.

Smoak said a new Town Web site was on the top of his list of priorities.

“My plan is to re-do the Web site. Completely,” he said.

Palmer said a new site could include a “virtual Town Hall aspect. It’s a great tool, but it needs to be regulated properly.”

“It’s time to get creative; I agree with that. But we need to answer some questions first,” he added.

Fitch said the Town could use already existing and free social media services such as facebook and Twitter. Palmer said the Town already did.

Later, Naoko Blue of Naoko Blue & Associates brought up the economic impact tied to sports activities, bringing a report from Mobile, Ala.’s public tennis center. Blue, whose child plays tennis, pointed out Farragut has no municipal tennis courts, nor does Farragut High School have a tennis facility.

“There probably is a legitimate opportunity for Farragut and the community center … if we wanted to have a tennis facility,” Fitch agreed.

This time it was Holladay who wondered if this was out of the committee’s purview: “I know there is an economic impact, but what role does this committee play?”

Pamela Treacy, Campbell Station Wine & Spirits, said tennis courts would play into the sports heritage of the Town.

“How can we expand on that sports heritage and turn it into money for the Town?” she asked.

Blue said an area tennis coach, Rob Cameron, told her Farragut would need a whopping 12 courts to attract and accommodate tournaments.

Myers estimated constructing so many courts would easily cost more than a million dollars, not counting the cost of land.

“The days of having municipal courts are over. As the EDC, we just open the door so when there’s private funding … we can say ‘Come here,’” he added.

Holladay again drew the conversation in: “We can go ahead and capitalize on what we already have,” he said, mentioning specifically soccer and baseball.

Treacy said the larger problem was that Farragut was not perceived as a partner in area and regional events, not excluded just to sporting events, but extending to many areas of tourism.

“That just needs to be a dialogue,” she said.

Palmer said the EDC needed to converse with other committees, including the Parks and Athletics Council and Community Center Committee, to which the idea of tennis courts would be directed.

Smoak pointed out Farragut recently had approved a 10-year Parks and Leisure Services Master Plan, which had been thoroughly vetted by other committees and by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

It didn’t include construction of tennis courts.

“Would it help if we were educated on what is actually happening before we start trying to create these other things?” Treacy asked.

 

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