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Citizens speak out at Summit


Dreaming big wasn’t off limits for Farragut citizens at the Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s Citizens’ Summit, Monday, Feb. 7, at Town Hall.

Farragut residents brainstormed ideas and goals for the Town that will be implemented into a strategic plan, which will outline the next five to 10 years of Farragut’s future.

“Crazy ideas here are OK,” consultant Lyle Sumek advised the more than 50 citizens who showed up for the summit.

Crazy or not, summit attendees came up with lots of ideas for Farragut’s elected officials and staff, especially in answer to questions about Farragut’s future.

“If you went away from Farragut for fifteen years and returned in 2026, what would you like to see?” was the question.


Answers ranged from seeing a “Town Center” district, the downtown concept presented by Michael Bates a few years ago that fell through with the recession, to seeing Farragut Primary School moved to another location.

Tops on many of the lists were a community center, the completion of the Town’s sidewalk and walking trail infrastructure, as well as mandatory recycling.

A “rehabbed” West End shopping center made a list, with the idea of turning the main thoroughfare to three Farragut schools into a more pedestrian friendly environment, with more “upscale” tenants. Kingston Pike also made a list for being rehabbed into a “boulevard,” presumably one much more pedestrian friendly.

In the “big dreams” category was Farragut creating its own school system, rather than Farragut-named schools being run by Knox County School System.

Attendees were broken up into eight teams and instructed to answer eight questions geared toward Farragut’s status today, what Farragut’s future should look like and how the Town should get to that future. Their answers were posted on large sheets of paper that will be typed up and become part of the public record, and considered by the Board for becoming part of the strategic plan.

The wide array of opinions present at the summit became apparent in answers to questions such as “What were the major successes of the Town in 2010?” and “What services or programs should the Town consider for elimination”?

Red-light cameras topped lists for both successes and what the Town should eliminate.

Also making nearly every list of successes were the Town’s recently-launched community events, including Picnic on the Pike, Taste of Farragut and Red, White & Blues. “Shop Farragut” also made nearly every success list, as did the opening of McFee Park and the Campbell Station Road improvements, specifically the bike lanes.

Attendees also were asked what programs they might like to see the Town add, and were provided with a list of what services the Town currently operates and what programs are operated by other entities.

Sumek cautioned summit attendees, “If you add something, you should be able to say you are willing to pay for that new service.”

Farragut funds are limited, since the Town operates only on state-shared and sales tax revenue and does not enact a property tax.

Still, summit attendees dreamed big, saying the Town should add a recycling and/or solid waste collection program, an economic development and tourism program, a community center, a business license and a library system.

“Public safety” and “schools” also appeared on new program lists, as did a few construction projects, including a Town Center development and a pedestrian bridge crossing Campbell Station Road at Farragut Primary School.

Mayor Ralph McGill thanked attendees at the end of the summit.

“Did you notice that you all came up with a lot of the same things? That’s no coincidence — it’s what we [the Board] came up with too,” he said.

“You will like the result when we finally get to the end of this process, and you will have been a part of it,” McGill said.

 

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