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EDC members parley over using Interstate billboard

Economic Development Committee members discussed the benefits of Farragut renting a billboard, or perhaps installing a municipal roll screen sign, along the Interstate at its meeting Thursday, Nov. 2.

“[We should] announce ourselves to and promote ourselves to the 100,000 visitors that pass through the Town” on Interstate 40-75, Alderman Bob Markli said, introducing ideas from the EDC’s marketing and development subcommittee.

“There are a lot of ways that can be done, but one is some kind of municipal board on the Interstate, and I don’t know whether this could be done or not, but possibly a reader board,” he added.

Such a board — essentially a roll screen with electronic letters — would announce events occurring in Town, such as “big rivalry games,” the Knoxville Open or Taste of Farragut, Markli said.

EDC chair Ginny McLain-Tate, BB&T Bank, asked Markli to clarify the type of sign he was considering.

“A flashing electronic sign,” Turkey Creek Land Partners principal Jim Nixon said to laughter from EDC members.

Farragut’s sign ordinance doesn’t allow for flashing electronic signs.

“Maybe we can do that in Loudon or something,” Town administrator David Smoak joked.

Smoak said, in fact, TDOT was looking to reduce sign clutter along the Interstate in any case. Smoak, following another suggestion from the EDC, had asked TDOT about “getting one of those ‘Next Three Exits Farragut’ signs,” he said.

“TDOT is now going through a program where they’re trying to get rid of signs along the Interstate, so they would not allow us to add more signage, or more names, [to] where it says ‘Farragut: Next Three Exits,’ on the Interstate,” he added.

EDC members did agree, however, that Farragut needed to be better identified to drivers on the Interstate.

“We do need something on the Interstate that says, ‘This is Farragut’ a lot better than what we’ve got,” Nixon said.

“We really need some kind of identity,” Markli said.

He next suggested Farragut could perhaps rent an Interstate billboard to advertise itself.

Smoak pointed out Farragut doesn’t allow for billboards either. The billboards in Town are grandfathered. Although that’s not to say Farragut couldn’t rent a billboard along the Interstate.

“We could use an existing one. I know there’s one near the Interstate,” Smoak acknowledged.

Smoak said he could look at the cost of renting a billboard and return to the EDC with more information.

In other business, the EDC discussed recruiting office tenants and apartment building developers to locate or build in Town limits.


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