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Williams questions CIP ‘pecking order’

At his last meeting as a member of Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Alderman, Alderman John Williams took exception with the order of projects on a capital investment list for the next five fiscal years.

Williams said pedestrian connections to McFee Park and Mayor Bob Leonard Park were not being given the importance they needed.

“These projects, in my opinion, are too low on the priority list,” Williams said at a Board workshop Thursday, April 14.

They could be moved up if the Town were willing to push back improvements to Union and Evans roads, which Williams said are unlikely to develop much in the next few years. The Everett Road widening — which has been on the book for years — could also be pushed back, Williams said, since the impetus of those improvements is a subdivision that was foreclosed on and is now for sale.

“A lot more thought needs to go into those road projects, because they are significantly hampering pedestrian projects,” Williams said.

The model of development-driven road projects had probably reached the end of its life, Williams said, since the economy had put such a damper on development.

“I absolutely concur; the world is different today,” Alderman Bob Markli said.

The workshop discussion was for the Board to discuss priorities for the CIP list; there was no vote taken to adopt the list.

Vice Mayor Dot LaMarche said a project to rehab the Grigsby Chapel Road traffic calming islands, and perhaps install lighting, should be moved up to this year. That would cost about $25,000.

Markli also took exception to a $550,000 line item for “lighting improvements” on Campbell Station Road in fiscal year 2012. That project would involve replacing the current streetlights with colonial-themed lights to create a corridor effect.

“We have adequate lighting on Campbell Station Road now, correct?” Markli asked.

Town associate administrator Gary Palmer reminded Markli the Board has asked for that item to be included on the CIP list during its strategic planning workshops late last year.

On the CIP list for fiscal year 2011 is $400,000 for the Watt Road extension, $1,710,000 for improvements at Kingston Pike and Everett Road and $4,650,000 for the Outlet Drive extension. The Town’s cost for the Outlet Drive extension is only $500,000 — the rest of the project will be funded by Knox County.

During its workshop, the Board also heard from Public Works director Bud McKelvey on a list of equipment he would need replaced, coming in at a total of $105,000. The list includes a truck, mowers and a gator.


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